Parent Visa Numbers for 2018-19 Published

Australia’s parent visa numbers for the program year to 30 June 2019 have been released today.

The Department of Home Affairs has released details of the number of visas available under the non humanitarian program for the year to 30 June 2019.

There are no changes compared with the 2017-18 program year, meaning that for the 2018–19 program year:

  • 1,500 places have been allocated to the non Contributory Parent visas, sub classes 103 and 804
  • 7,175 places have been allocated to the Contributory Parent visas, subclasses 173/143 and subclasses 884/864

It should be remembered that the Australian Government has adopted a change of narrative in recent months, such that the number of visas in the budgeted program should be seen as a ceiling, not a target.

By changing its narrative the Government can be seen to be responsive to community concerns when the actual outcome in terms of visa grant numbers is less than was budgeted originally.

The 2018-19 migration program planning numbers are available here.


New Visa Application Charges from 1st July, 2018 – Parent Visa Applications

The Department of Immigration has announced the new scale of 1st Visa Application Charges that are taking effect from the 1st of July, 2018.

Charges for the parent visa applications encountered most frequently are increasing as follows:

Subclass 143, Contributory Parent (not the holder of a subclass 173 visa)

  • Main applicant – A$3,855 currently A$3,770
  • Secondary applicants aged 18 or more – A$1,300 currently A$1,270

Subclass 864, Contributory Aged Parent (not the holder of a subclass 884 visa)

  • Main applicant – A$3,855 currently A$3,770
  • Secondary applicants aged 18 or more – A$1,925 currently A$1,880

Subclass 804, Aged Parent

  • Main applicant – A$4,035 currently A$3,945
  • Secondary applicants aged 18 or more – A2,020 currently A$1,975

These VACs are payable when the visa application is lodged with the Department of Home Affairs.

At present there are no announced changes to the 2nd Visa Application Charges, which are payable immediately prior to visa grant.

For now these remain at A$43,600 per person for the subclass 143 and 864 visas, and A$2,065 for the non Contributory subclass 804 visa.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the Regulations which introduces the increases advises:

… the Regulations amend the Migration Regulations to increase first instalment VACs for a number of visas. On 1 July 2017, most VACs were indexed in accordance with the 2017-18 forecast consumer price index (CPI). The Regulations increase the majority of VACs so that they are increased by the 2018‐19 forecast CPI. In effect, this means that the relevant VACs are increased from their baseline 2016-17 amounts by the cumulative total of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 increases. It is intended that these indexation amendments will be made on an annual basis in future.

Assurance of Support Changes to be Withdrawn

SBS News is reporting that the changes to the Assurance of Support requirements that were introduced immediately after Easter and that retrospectively affect parent visa applications are to be withdrawn.

SBS apparently has obtained a letter which Social Security Minister Dan Tehan sent to Greens Senator Nick McKim on Wednesday, which confirms the Government will undo the Regulation, rather than face a narrow defeat on the floor of the Senate.

The Government will revert to the old rules and will “reassess” any who applied for an Assurance of Support after the April change was introduced.

Mr Tehan apparently plans to rewrite the legislative instrument before the 23rd of May.

This is great news for those parents – and their families – who would have otherwise been looking at their visa application being refused.

Assurance of Support: Disallowance Motion Scheduled for Senate Business

The Disallowance Motion discussed in our earlier post which seeks to strike out the retrospective changes to the Assurance of Support income requirement has been introduced to the Senate.

The Motion is scheduled to be discussed after 2pm today, Wednesday the 9th of May, as per Senate Business discussed here (see page 2; you will need a pdf viewer).

For those who want to follow proceedings live you can watch the Senate at this web link.

We will report the result of the Motion when we have it to hand.

Update: The changes to the AoS requirements are to be withdrawn, with the old rules to be reintroduced: see the blog post here.

Subclass 410 and 405 Visa Holders to be Offered Permanent Visas from the Parent Visa Program

The Australian Federal Budget has been handed down today.

Hidden away on page 14 of the revenue measures (pdf reader required) is the following narrative:

The Government will introduce a pathway to permanent residency for holders of Retirement (subclass 410) and Investor Retirement (subclass 405) visas.

From 2018-19, a portion of the planned parent permanent migration places will be quarantined for retirement visa holders each year. Retirement visa holders in Australia will be eligible to apply onshore for a permanent visa through the Parent (subclass 103) or Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa streams.

Retirement visa holders will be exempted from some parent visa requirements that they would typically be unable to meet, such as having family in Australia.

The pathway will remain open until all retirement visa holders who wish to transition to permanent residency have done so.

As part of the establishment of the pathway, the Government will close the subclass 405 visa to new applicants. The subclass 410 visa is already closed to new applicants.

This measure continues Minister Dutton’s pattern of displacing visa applicants who are already awaiting the progression of an application: he has already undertaken a similar measure when introducing a skilled visa pathway for New Zealand citizens, displacing intending subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa applicants.

While this will be good news for the 405 and 410 visa holders in Australia who have been lobbying for permanent residency for many years the consequence for existing parent visa applicants is likely to be increased delays in the granting of their visas.

Indeed, we think it is surprising that parents of children in Australia – where the balance of family test is satisfied – will apparently be lower in the visa processing pecking order than those who will often have no other family in Australia.