All posts by Alan Collett

Renewing Subclass 870 Visas – The 90 Day Conundrum

Many individuals apply for subclass 870 Sponsored Parent Temporary visas while they are waiting for permanent residency visas to be granted under subclass 143, Contributory Parent.

Subclass 870 visas are granted with a 3 year or a 5 year validity.

With processing times for subclass 143 visa applications now taking substantially longer than was anticipated when the applications were lodged – and was indicated by the Department of Home Affairs at that time – subclass 870 visa holders are now having to renew the visa because their permanent residency visa is not going to be granted within the validity period of their present 870 visa.

A practical problem facing those intending to renew their 870 visa is the need for most to be outside Australia for at least 90 days before applying.

This is what the Migration Regulations relevantly say:

870.223

(1)  If:

(a) the applicant is outside Australia at the time of application; and

(b) the applicant previously held a Subclass 870 visa; and

(c) there are no exceptional circumstances;

the applicant has been outside Australia for at least 90 consecutive days since the relevant departure day of the applicant.

(2)  The relevant departure day of an applicant is:

(a) if the applicant was in Australia when the last Subclass 870 visa held by the applicant ceased to be in effect—the first day on which the applicant left Australia after that visa ceased to be in effect; or

(b) if the applicant was not in Australia when the last Subclass 870 visa held by the applicant ceased to be in effect—the last day on which the applicant left Australia while that visa was in effect.

Permissions to apply onshore – ie when in Australia – for an initial subclass 870 visa were being approved during the Covid period when the border was closed.

However, such permissions are no longer being approved generally.

Department of Home Affairs policy guidance in this regard says:

Permission may be given to apply while in Australia in exceptional circumstances, such as an accident or serious illness which means the person cannot depart Australia to apply outside Australia.

There are no criteria in the Regulations in relation to approval of requests for permission to apply in Australia. The Minister has an unfettered discretion to give permission and all requests for permission must be considered on their merits. However, as indicated above, the policy intention is that permission will only be granted in exceptional cases, which would usually be where the parent is unable to depart Australia. The general expectation is that parents must apply for the Subclass 870 visa from outside Australia.

A request for permission to apply in Australia may be approved if the parent is unable to depart Australia, due to, for example:

  • an accident or serious illness (there should be medical evidence provided with the request); or
  • a natural disaster preventing travel to parent’s home country (e.g. ongoing ash cloud due to a volcanic eruption, pandemic or war).

On the other hand, a request for permission to apply in Australia should generally not be approved if the only reason for the request is that:

  • the parent does not want to travel overseas because of the cost and inconvenience including situations where a prospective visa applicant would simply prefer to remain in Australia for family related reasons (eg because a family member is due to give birth). In this case it is the responsibility of the parent to apply for and be granted a different visa if they seek to remain in Australia, before departing and re-applying for a further temporary parent visa offshore;
  • departure of the parent is not convenient for the sponsor;
  • the prospective visa applicant has sold their assets in their home country, and set themselves up in Australia in anticipation of being able to apply for and be granted another visa without leaving Australia;
  • the prospective visa applicant has failed to meet the permanent visa health requirement in relation to another visa application

A request for permission to apply in Australia should be supplemented with detailed information outlining the circumstances that are relevant to the request. 

A question to be asked by those whose subclass 870 visa is about to expire is therefore: do I need another subclass 870 visa?

Key to answering this is the reasonably expected timeline for the subclass 143 visa to be granted.

In this regard our contributory parent visa processing time calculator may be helpful to provide an indicative timeline of when the subclass 143 visa will be granted.

If there is a reasonable expectation of subclass 143 visa grant within 12 to 15 months of your subclass 870 visa expiring and you want to spend substantially all of that time in Australia you might reasonably look to a 12 month visitor visa under subclass 600.

If the processing time for the 143 visa grant is longer than this and you cannot leverage the exceptional circumstances provisions discussed above you should plan to have an extended holiday outside Australia of at least 3 months.

The sponsor application would be prepared in the last few weeks of one’s time in Australia – recall here that a new family sponsor approval application cannot be submitted while an existing family sponsorship is ongoing.

Family sponsorships are presently taking some 6 to 8 weeks to be approved.

The subclass 870 visa application would then be lodged, after which one can return to Australia on (say) a 3 month visitor visa (subclass e651, if available) while awaiting a decision on the 870 visa application.

Remember than you can be in Australia when a subclass 870 visa is granted.

At the moment visa applications under subclass 870 are also taking 6 to 8 weeks to be processed to a decision.

Clearly there are several logistical issues to address in this situation.  

Go Matilda Parent Visas will be delighted to support existing subclass 870 visa holders who need help renewing their subclass 870 visas.

Please complete the enquiry form on this web page if you think you will need help with your subclass 870 visa renewal and would like a free initial chat.

 

 

End of the Covid concession – What it means for Subclass 143 Visa Applicants with Bridging Visas

As some will know, the Australian Government introduced concessions across the visa program during the Covid pandemic.

This included allowing applicants for subclass 143 Contributory Parent visas to be onshore – ie in Australia – at the time the 143 visa was granted.

As a result of this concession it was possible to apply for a Bridging Visa, providing certain conditions were satisfied.

The Covid concession for subclass 143 visa applicants ended on 25 November 2023.

This means that Bridging Visas for subclass 143 visa applicants can no longer be granted to Subclass 143 visa applicants.

The most immediate practical impact of this is for subclass 143 visa applicants who are in Australia with a Bridging Visa that is in effect and who want to travel overseas and return to Australia.

Until 25 November 2023 such individuals would apply for a Bridging Visa B.

BVBs are no longer available to subclass 143 visa applicants as they can no longer be onshore at the time the permanent residency visa is granted.

For many this is an unwelcome outcome – if they depart Australia they are unable to return using the Bridging Visa regime.

Strategies to adopt if you are a subclass 143 visa applicant with a BVA or BVB that is in effect (ie active) include applying for a subclass 870 Sponsored Parent Temporary visa with a 3 year or a 5 year validity, or exploring obtaining a visitor visa if you are within a short period of your 143 visa being granted.

 

Queuing Confusion! – Subclass 143 Contributory Parent Visa Applications

As noted in an earlier blog post the Department of Home Affairs now queues applications for Contributory Parent visas.

The process of queuing Contributory Parent visa applications has had a slow start, but we are now starting to see subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa applications being reviewed by delegates at the Parent Visa Centre with a view to them being given a queue date.

Specifically, from Ministerial Direction 103:

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.

Customarily with the non Contributory Parent visa caseload (subclasses 103 and 804) the queue date given is the date the application is assessed by the delegate as meeting certain requirements.

Some of the queue dates issued recently – notably in October 2023 – were the dates on which the delegate assessed the prescribed criteria as being met, as per the Ministerial Direction.

However, a short time later these applicants (or their agents) received letters from the Department of Home Affairs advising of updated queue dates, which was the date the visa application was submitted to the Department.

We have made enquiry of the Department and have been advised:

The Department is currently assessing a large number of Contributory Parent visa applications for a place in the queue. In order to ensure that clients are not disadvantaged by the delay in assessing their application for the queue, the Parent Visa team are currently utilising provisions within Ministerial Direction 103 to assign a retrospective queue date.

Given the large number of Contributory Parent visas under current assessment this will ensure that cases lodged months or potentially years apart do not ‘skip’ each other for a place in the queue due to our processes. It will also align with the queue method applied to Contributory Parent visas that were lodged up to 1 June 2018. To ensure equity, the Parent Visa team are currently revising the queue date assigned to a small number of Contributory Parent visa applications that were incorrectly assigned a 2023 queue date.

While we do not wholly subscribe to the procedure being adopted – it doesn’t align with the queuing of non Contributory Parent visa applications under subclasses 103 and 804 – this response does provide context to what we and some other visa applicants have experienced recently.

 

Onshore parent visa applications – Changing tack from an 864 to an 804

With processing times for Contributory Parent visa applications now extending to 12+ years many who have submitted applications for subclass 864 Contributory Aged Parent visas are questioning their visa strategy, and are considering withdrawing that application and applying for a subclass 804 non-Contributory Aged Parent visa.

There are though some practical issues that should be borne in mind.

In particular the issue of Bridging Visas and the ability to depart Australia and return should be understood before one withdraws an application for a subclass 864 visa and applies for an 804.

If you are in Australia as the holder of a Bridging Visa A that is in effect – ie is active – when you withdraw the 864 and apply for an 804 you do not hold what is called a substantive visa when the subclass 804 visa application is lodged.

This means that you will be granted a Bridging Visa C when the subclass 804 visa application is receipted.

Unfortunately it is not then possible to apply for a Bridging Visa B if you subsequently want to depart Australia and return at a later date: applications for BVBs can only be made by those who hold a BVA or a BVB.

Strategy for those wanting to move onto an 804 application from an 864 might therefore be to leave Australia without a BVB.

Apply for a tourist visa (eg a subclass 651 eVisitor if you are a UK passport holder).

Then apply for the 804 visa once you have returned to Australia.

You will then be applying for the 804 as the holder of a substantive visa, facilitating the issuing of a BVA when the application for the 804 visa is receipted by the Department of Home Affairs.

If you are considering moving onto a subclass 804 visa application as a subclass 864 visa applicant there are clearly important steps to take.   Go Matilda Visas is experienced in the handling of parent visas – if you think you need help with your parent visa application we’ll be pleased to have an initial high level chat with you, and to send details of our fees.

 

Immigration Minister Confirms Number of Parent Visas for the 2022/23 Program Year

The Australian Immigration Minister has confirmed the number of parent visas that can be granted for the program year ending on 30 June 2023.

By way of background, parent visas are subject to an annual capping of visa grant numbers; at this time of year it is customary for the Minister to confirm this by way of an Instrument.

Numbers are as follows:

Contributory Parent visas

A maximum of 6,800 visas may be granted for the 2022/23 financial year.

Of the maximum number of Contributory Parent visas a maximum of 112 visas may be granted to applicants for the Contributory Parent Visa Migrant, Class CA who hold or who last held SC 405 Investor Retirement or SC 410 Retirement visas.

Non Contributory Parent Visas

A maximum of 1,700 Parent visas may be granted in the 2022/23 financial year.

Of the maximum number of Non Contributory Parent visas a maximum of 13 visas may be granted to applicants for the Parent (Migrant) (Class AX) visa who hold or who last held C 405 Investor Retirement or SC 410 Retirement visas.

In Summary

The overall number of visas that can be granted for the program year ending on 30 June 2023 is therefore 8,500 – which is as announced by the Federal Government already.

We expect to see a flurry of activity in the next 5 weeks given the number of visa grants up to 30 April 2023 discussed in our previous blog.