Covid Concession – Extension of Validity Period for 870 Visas

Subclass 870 visa holders are unable to travel to Australia presently, due to restrictions at the point of arrival.

The validity period of subclass 870 visas is 3 years or 5 years from the time the visa is granted – not from the time of first arrival in Australia.

The Australian Government has announced a concession that extends the validity period of subclass 870 visas by 18 months.

If you hold a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870) visa (SPTV) and were outside Australia on 1 July 2021, your visa period has been automatically extended by 18 months.

The concession is intended to help SPTV holders who could not spend the full 3 or 5 years on their visa in Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

If your visa is extended under this concession the additional 18 months will not count toward your cumulative 10 year maximum stay period.

The Department of Home Affairs has said that it will notify eligible visa holders in writing by the end of August 2021.

The sponsorship obligations for SPTV Sponsors have also been extended for the same 18 month period.

Number of parent visas capped for year to 30 June 2021

The Australian Government has published a Legislative Instrument which caps the number of parent visas that can be granted for the current program year that ends on 30 June 2021.

There is a ceiling of 3,600 visas on the number of Contributory Parent visas.

For the last 2 program years the numbers were:

2019/20 – 6,096

2018/19 – 7,175

For non CP visas – ie visa subclasses 103 and 804 – the ceiling is 900.

2019/20 – 1,275

2018/19 – 1,500

The ceiling on the granting of CP Visas includes 125 visas that are available to subclass 410 and 405 visa holders who are seeking permanent residency under the pathway to permanent residency for retirement and investor retirement visa holders.

Comment:  Clearly COVID-19 has significantly affected the number of visas being granted to parents.   With a significant number of applications for parent visas lodged with the Australian Government – see our recent post in this regard – and political pressure building on the Government to react to a significantly lengthening waiting time – we like to think that the planned parent visa program for the program year to 30 June 2022 will respond appropriately.

The number of parent visas for the following program year is usually announced at the time of the Federal Budget.   The 2021 Budget is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 11 May, 2021.

We will bring news here regarding the 2021/22 program numbers as soon as they are known to us.

Parent Visas – Place to be at Time of Visa Grant – COVID Concessions Start

Temporary relaxations in the place where parent visa applicants are required to be at the time of visa grant come into effect today.

The Migration Amendment (Parent Visas) Regulations amend the Migration Regulations to allow specified Parent Visas to be granted during the COVID concession period in locations other than those usually applying.

For applicants for the following Parent visa classes who are located in Australia, but who would be otherwise required to be outside Australia at the time of visa grant, these visas may be granted when onshore:

  • Parent (Permanent) (subclass 103)
  • Contributory Parent (Permanent) (subclass 143)
  • Contributory Parent (Temporary) (subclass 173)

For applicants for the following Parent visa subclasses who are located outside Australia, but who would otherwise be required to be in Australia at the time of visa grant, these visas may be granted when offshore:

  • Aged Parent (Permanent) (subclass 804)
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Permanent) (subclass 864)

These COVID concessions apply to visas that were lodged before 24 March 2021 and before the end of the concession period prescribed in Regulation 1.15N(1).

No end date for the concession period has been prescribed at the time of writing this article.

For the grant of a Subclass 103, Subclass 143 or Subclass 173 visa while the applicant is in Australia, the applicant must have been in Australia on 24 March 2021, but not in immigration clearance.

For grant of a Subclass 804 or Subclass 864 while the applicant is overseas, the applicant must have been outside Australia on 24 March 2021 and must not be in immigration clearance.

Contributory Parent Visa Application Numbers

Go Matilda Visas has details of the breakdown of the number of Contributory Parent Visa (CPV) applications that were lodged and in train at the Parent Visa Centre at the end of October 2020.

A table that provides details of the number of CPV applications that were lodged with the Department of Home Affairs as at 30 October, 2020 is accessible at the link below.

Even allowing for the fact that some of these applications will be withdrawn or will be refused rather than granted – the numbers in these regards are unlikely to be more than 10% of the total – we believe that these details support our view published on this blog a month ago: CPV application processing times are likely to be somewhat longer than has been advertised by the Department of Home Affairs to date.

Unless of course there is a step up in the number of CPV grants over the next few years.

Allowing for a 10% rate of refusal and withdrawal there are some 50,000 applications waiting to be granted.

The number of parent visas to be granted over this program year to 30 June 2021 – including non Contributory subclass 103s and 804s – is slated to be 4,500.

In previous years the number of CPV grants has been around 7,000 for each program year.

As some might say – you do the maths!

Go Matilda Visas is an informed migration advisory practice, and believes it has a responsibility to advise intending migrants of what should be expected as to outcomes and timelines, and not to set unrealistic expectations.

If you already have a parent visa application submitted to the Parent Visa Centre and think you might like some professional assistance to get you through to your visa being granted – or are planning to submit a parent visa application with the support of a registered migration agent – and would like a free no obligation conversation with us please feel able to complete the enquiry form on this page.

We will then contact you to tee up an initial discussion.

Contributory Parent Visa Applications – Queuing System Introduced

While non Contributory Parent visa applications have been subject to a formal queuing system for many years this hasn’t been the case with Contributory Parent visa applications – until now.

A high level of demand for family visas creates a need for the Australian Government to ” … manage the consideration and disposal of applications for these visas in an orderly fashion.”

The Government seeks to achieve this in the form of Ministerial Directions, and specifically MD Numbers 80 and 83.

MD Number 80 discusses the processing of family visas generally.

MD Number 83 discusses the processing of family visas that are subject to the formal capping of visa numbers each year – most notably applications for parent visas.

In particular MD Number 83 says:

Except for Other Family visa applications and Pathway visa applications the order of precedence for Family visa applications is:

(a)  those applications where the Minister has exercised powers of intervention under sections 351 or 417 of the Act in the order that those powers have been exercised; then

(b)  all other applications in queue date order, commencing with the application with the earliest queue date, to the extent that it is reasonably practicable to assess applications in that order.

Paragraph (b) provides the requirement for a consideration of the queue date of a visa application.

The MD also defines queue date:

queue date means the date  on which the applicant is assessed by a delegate as meeting all of the prescribed criteria for the visa, other than the following:


(c)  for Onshore Parent visas (Subclass 804) and Contributory Parent visas (Subclass 864 and 884), the applicant’s payment of the second instalment of the visa application charge and, where applicable, assurance of support requirements;

(d)  for Parent visas (Subclass 103) and Contributory Parent visas  (Subclass 143 and 173), the applicant’s health and character requirements, payment of the second instalment of the visa application charge and, where applicable, assurance of support requirements.

We understand that the Department has now commenced an assessment of Contributory Parent visa applications with a lodgement date up to (but not including) June 2018.

Requests from delegates at the PVC may therefore be forthcoming for onshore subclass 864 and 884 visa applicants to undertake medical examinations and to provide police clearance certificates.

Requests for medicals and police clearances should not be received by offshore subclass 143 and 173 visa applicants at the queuing stage of the visa application.

Going forwards the queue date – rather than the visa application date – will be the factor that determines when the visa application is processed.