The government has recently announced a new visa for Parents, giving Australian citizens and permanent residents new opportunities to bring their parents to Australia. This article compares the new temporary Sponsored Parent Visa with the permanent Contributory Parent Visa in the hope of assisting potential clients make an informed choice on the best way to bring their parents to Australia.
SPONSORED PARENT (Temporary) VISA
The Department of Immigration has announced that they will accept new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa applications from 17 April 2019. Visas will be issued from 1 July 2019. The new visa allows parents to remain in Australia for a longer period of time, up to five years at a time without departing. There is also the prospect of extending this visa to a maximum period of ten years.
Parent visas are currently split across several visa streams, including the traditional Parent subclass 103 visa, the Contributory Parent (Temporary) and the Contributory Parent (Permanent) visa. This article compares this new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa and the existing Contributory Parent Visa, so that parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand passport holders can make an informed choice on which is the most appropriate visa for their own circumstances.
This new visa can reduce community concerns about the limited number of parent visa places in the migration program and associated lengthy waiting periods.
Who can apply for this visa?
An eligible child can be a sponsor to his or her biological, adoptive or step-parent. The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen who has been residing in Australia for the last four years and has met the minimum household income threshold. This required “household income threshold” is listed to be A$83,454.80. This is the taxable income that will need to be confirmed by ‘the tax assessment notice’ for the financial year immediately preceding the year in which the application for approval as a sponsor is submitted. While this sum may seem high, it is noteworthy that this amount can be made up of a joint income comprising the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner, or one child of a permitted sponsor.
Steps in the processing of the visa
The process requires that the eligible child must first sponsor the parent(s).
When the sponsorship application is approved, the sponsored parent(s) can apply for this visa. Visa applications must be lodged within six months of sponsorship approval and cannot be lodged until the sponsorship has been approved.
The costs of the new visa are as follows:
• Sponsorship fee: $420
• Application for a three-year visa: $5,000; or
• Application for a five-year visa: $10,000
The visa application charge is payable in two instalments, with one payment at time of application and the remainder paid prior to visa grant.
Benefits of the new visa
Unlike the Contributory Parent Visa, the parent does not need to meet the ‘balance of family test.’ That is, parents can be eligible even if only one of their children lives in Australia.
A parent can apply for either a three-year visa or a five-year visa. Parents can be granted extensions to a maximum period of 10 years. As this is a multiple entry visa, Parents have the flexibility of entering and leaving Australia as they wish.
The Six must-know facts about the new temporary sponsored visa for parents.
1. Up to 15,000 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas may be granted for each program year (from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020).
2. Only two parents per household can be sponsored for this visa at a time.
3. This is a multiple-entry visa, and successful applicants will be permitted to stay in Australia for the entire duration of their visa.
4. The visa provides a temporary status and cannot be a pathway to permanency.
5. As this visa does not provide access to Medicare, applicants are required to purchase medical insurance for the duration of their visa.
6. Visa Holders cannot work or seek access to social security benefits.
This visa allows eligible applicants the right to stay in Australia indefinitely with multiple entry facility. They can work and study in Australia, and also enrol in Medicare – Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses.
Eligible applicants are also allowed to access the social security payments after the ten-year period has passed.
Process of Contributory Parent Visa
A parent can apply directly for the permanent Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) as a one stage process. In the alternative, if a parent is not able to pay the required second visa application charge, they can apply for the two-stage Temporary Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 173), followed later by the Permanent Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143).
The annual migration program allows for only a small number of visas under the parent category while the demand is increasing. As a result, a huge queue has now built up necessitating in longer times to finalise applications.
The Six General Information about Contributory Parent Visa
This visa will allow eligible applicants:
1. The right to stay in Australia indefinitely.
2. Work and study in Australia.
3. The opportunity to enrol in Medicare – Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses.
4. Apply for Australian citizenship when they become eligible.
5. Access to social security payments after the ten-year Assurance of Support period has passed.
6. Be eligible to sponsor eligible relatives.
Assurance of Support
A Contributory Parent Visa Sponsor will need to provide an Assurance of Support (AoS) as part of the visa process.
The current bond amounts are as follows:
• Main Applicant $10,000 AUD
• Secondary Applicant $4,000 AUD
In accordance with changes made by the Department of Social Services, the way that an Assurance of Support income level is assessed has become very complicated as the assurance can be given by a single individual assurer or by multiple “joint individual assurers”. This is undertaken in accordance with a prescribed formula which is dependent on the Assurer(s) income levels and the number of parents sponsored.
Best Parent Visa For Your Family?
With increased options available, it has enabled different opportunities for Parents and families to consider. But the dilemma may be in choosing the best option.
In comparing the options, the cost and process for the Contributory Parent visa option is onerous and considerably more expensive, but it provides permanent residence. The second visa application charge is extremely expensive and cannot be refunded once paid.
In contrast, while the sponsored parent (temporary) visa application charge is considerably less, it is only temporary and does not lead to permanency. But it will allow families to remain together even if it is not permanent.
The most crucial difference between these two visas is that the Contributory Parent Visa must meet the balance-of-family test while this test is not applicable to the new sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa, regardless of the number of children who live in Australia.
Eligible parents are in the best position to determine which visa option is most appropriate for their own circumstances, noting that each visa has different requirements, visa application charges, conditions and stay periods.
As only a limited number of visas are issued yearly, it is anticipated that the demand for this visa will be extremely high as there is no “balance of family” test. It is therefore expected that the annual program will be utilised very quickly.
If you are interested in this visa, it will be in your interest to apply for it as soon as possible before the visa program is fully subscribed.
If you wish to discuss your Parent Visa options or seek advice on the best Parent visa pathway to take, Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers, a law firm that specialises in Migration Law will be happy to assist you. We also speak Chinese, Punjabi and Korean languages in the firm.
Come and see us for honest advice.
The initial consultation fee will be re-credited to you if you wish to proceed with your parent visa application with us.
Article, prepared by Kyung Kwon and Peter Kuek-Kong Lee