From 2 June, we have permanently closed the following visa subclasses in the Family Stream of the Migration Programme to new applications:
- Parent visa (subclass 103)
- Aged Parent visa (subclass 804)
- Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclasses 114 and 838)
- Remaining Relative visa (subclasses 115 and 835)
- Carer visa (subclasses 116 and 836).
The visas will be closed to new applications before the start of the 2014-15 Migration Programme year.
Focusing on reunion of close family
The government believes the focus of family migration should be on the reunion of close family members. The government priority for Family Stream visas are the partners, children and contributory parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
The visas have long processing queues. Based on current planning levels, an applicant for a Parent or Aged Parent visa can expect to wait around 13 years before being considered for the grant of a visa after being allocated a queue date while an applicant for an Other Family visa can expect a waiting time of between four years (for a Carer visa) and 16 years (for a Remaining Relative and Aged Dependent Relative visa). These waiting periods reflect the significant number of visa applications in comparison to the limited number of visa places available each Migration Programme year.
If you have already applied for a visa that is being closed
If you have already applied or apply before the date of cessation of new applications your application will continue to be processed under existing regulations and policy. Note that the Parent and Other Family visas are subject to annual planning levels. In 2014-15, 1500 places have been allocated to Parent and 500 places to Other Family. You can expect to wait up to 13 years for a Parent or Aged Parent visa, four years for a Carer visa and up to 16 years for a Aged Dependent Relative or Remaining Relative visa.
Certain eligible dependent family members, such as a partner or dependent children can be added to an existing undecided application. You will need to provide evidence of the relationship, including dependency.
Other options for parents to come to Australia
Parents will continue to have the option of applying for a permanent Contributory Parent visa, either Parent visa (subclass 143) for parents outside Australia or Aged Parent visa (subclass 864) for parents in Australia. Under these visas, applicants need to pay a higher visa application charge and assurance of support bond than the Parent visa (subclass 103) or Aged Parent visa (subclass 804) applicants. It is possible to stagger the costs by first applying for a temporary Contributory Parent visa and then for the permanent Contributory Parent visa. The temporary Contributory Parent visas include Contributory Parent (subclass 173) visa for parents outside Australia and Contributory Aged Parent (subclass 884) for parents in Australia.
Alternatively, parents can apply for a long stay Visitor visa which allows eligible parents to visit their children in Australia for regular periods of up to 12 months at a time over an extended validity period. For many families, temporary stay provides greater flexibility without the need to wait in a queue for years for a permanent visa.
Options for other family relatives to come to Australia
Relatives of Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents other than partners, children and parents who want to migrate to Australia need to satisfy requirements for entry as a skilled migrant. All intending migrants interested in the points based skilled migration or business investment and innovation visa programmes need to submit an expression of interest for a skilled visa. Overseas relatives might also be eligible for a Visitor visa, where they can show that the purpose of their visit is to assist with the short-term care needs of a seriously ill relative who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Standard Visitor visa requirements must be met, including that the applicant genuinely intends only a temporary stay in Australia.