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Fact sheet 37 - Processing priorities for family stream migration

The Australian Government has established processing priorities for applicants who apply to migrate under the family stream migration.

Family stream migration includes partner, child, parent and other family visa categories. The main requirement for family stream visas is the sponsorship of the family member applying.
See: Family Members: All Visa Options

Priority given to family stream visas

Applications for family stream visas are prioritised depending on which visa you apply for. The following are examples of the priorities given to various visa categories.

For primary applicants of an Australian sponsor, priority is given in the following order:

  • Partner or child
  • orphan relatives
  • contributory parents.

Priority is then given to those applying for carers, parent visas, remaining relative and aged dependent relative visas.

Within each Family Stream visa category, applicants sponsored by a permanent visa holder who entered Australia as an illegal maritime arrival (IMA) are given the lowest processing priority.

Note: There is no exception for affected family members facing compelling or compassionate circumstances. All other applications are generally considered in order of the date of lodgement.

On 2 June 2014 the government introduced significant changes to the Other Family and non-contributory Parent visas.
We no longer accept new applications for the following visas:

  • Parent visa (subclass 103)
  • Aged Parent visa (subclass 804)
  • Remaining Relative visa (subclass 835)
  • Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 838)
  • Carer visa (subclass 836)
  • Remaining Relative visa (subclass 115)
  • Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 114)
  • Carer visa (subclass 116).

These changes do not affect applicants who have made their application before 2 June 2014. Existing applications will continue to be processed. This includes adding certain family members (partners, dependent children or newborn children) who can be added to a Parent or Other Family application in certain situations before a decision has been made on the application.

Applicants who were previously eligible for the visas listed above might consider visiting Australia on a non-ongoing short-term basis through Visitor visas.

Compelling and compassionate circumstances

If you are applying for a partner or a child visa, your application may be prioritised where you can demonstrate compelling and compassionate circumstances. In such cases, you will need to make a request for priority processing with the visa office where your application is being processed and provide evidence to support your claims.

Note: There is no guarantee that your application will be given a higher priority as other applicants may have equally or more compelling and compassionate circumstances. There are a limited number of visas that can be granted in the migration programme year.

Applications for a contributory parent visa are not currently subject to queuing. Therefore your application will not be allocated a queue date.

Within the non-contributory parent and other family category, applications are assessed against the core criteria for the relevant visa in lodgement date order. Based on the date this assessment is completed, applications are then assigned a queue date and placed into a queue. Your visa application will then be considered for final processing in queue date order when places are available in the migration programme.

There is no discretion to consider compelling and compassionate circumstances in processing contributory parent visa application or allocating or adjusting queue dates for parent, carer, remaining relative or aged dependent relative visa applications.

Fact sheet 37. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.