All posts by Alan Collett

Parent Visa Numbers are Capped for the Year to 30 June 2024

A Legislative Instrument has been published by Australia’s Immigration Minister that caps the number of visas that can be granted to parents in the program year to 30 June 2024 as follows:
  • Contributory Parent visas – 6,800
  • Non Contributory Parent visas – 1,700
Of these totals some 112 Contributory Parent visas can be granted to Retiree pathway applicants; 13 can be granted to non-Contributory Parent visa applicants by Retirees.
Retiree pathway applicants are those who are applying under the pathway that is available to subclass 410 and 405 visa applicants.

Parent visas – The number of visas granted to date

Following a Freedom of Information request we have received the following information from the Department of Home Affairs regarding the number of parent visas granted during the current program year through to the end of February 2024 – ie from 1 July 2023 to 29 Feb 2024.

  Number Granted Number Refused
Contributory Parent Visas (CPVs) 4,624 308
Non Contributory Parent Visas 1,231 203
Subclass 870, Sponsored Parent Temporary 2,672 70

The parent visa program planning level (which excludes subclass 870) for the year to 30 June 2024 is for 8,500 visa grants, so if this is to be achieved there are some 2,624 parent visas available for grant in the 4 months to the end of June 2024.

In recent years there has been a tendency for the number of parent visas granted during a program year to come in at a few hundred less than the planning level – watch this blog for the actual numbers for the full year in the coming months.

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:


(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.