All posts by Alan Collett

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Even allowing for the fact that some of these applications will be withdrawn or will be refused rather than granted – the numbers in these regards are unlikely to be more than 10% of the total – we believe that these details support our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.  

Parent Visa Processing Timelines – The Gory Details

We’ve seen the time taken to process Contributory Parent visas blow out significantly over the last few years.    How bad can it get?

The time taken for a subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa application to be processed to a decision has increased significantly in the last few years.   From a processing time of typically 18 to 24 months a few years ago we now see the Parent Visa Centre deciding visa applications that were lodged more than 4 years ago.

Indeed, the Australian Government’s allocation of visas to the parent visa program has completely failed to keep pace with a level of demand that was surely to be expected given the large number of visas granted annually under the skilled and partner visa programs.

Indeed, when the Federal Budget papers were released last week the number of visas available to parent visa applicants for the program year to 30 June 2021 was reduced to 4,500.

In the COVID-affected program year to 30 June 2020 the ceiling on Contributory Parent visa numbers was 6,096, with only 4,399 granted across the Contributory and non-Contributory visa classes.

In the program year to 30 June 2019 the number of visas granted across the Contributory and non-Contributory visa classes was 6,805.

Following an information request of the Department of Home Affairs we now know that the numbers of visas being sought as at 30 September 2020 across the Contributory Parent visa subclasses were:

  • Subclass 143 – 53,444
  • Subclass 173 – 2,884
  • Subclass 864 – 3,447
  • Subclass 884 – 146
  • TOTAL – 59,921

Clearly these statistics indicate a processing time for Contributory Parent visa applications way in excess of that being referenced on the Department’s website (Updated: 23 September 2020): ” … based on current planning levels, we estimate new Contributory Parent visa applications lodged that meet the criteria to be queued are likely to take approximately at least 58 months to be released for final processing.”

We acknowledge that processing priorities can change quickly, as we have seen with the increased number of partner visa applications announced last week – due primarily we suspect to increasing public awareness through the media of the delays in such visa applications being processed to a decision.

However, until there is a similar level of public awareness of – and concern for – the position facing parents unable to join children in Australia we fear it is unlikely there will be any improvement in the processing timeline for parent visa applicants.

Number of parent visas reduced

A Legislative Instrument has been published which reduces the number of available parent visas compared with the 2018/19 program year.

In summary, there is a ceiling of 6,096 visas on the number of Contributory Parent visas for the year to 30 June 2020. For the previous year the ceiling was 7,175.

For non CP visas the 2019/20 ceiling is 1,275 (1,500 for 2018/19).

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 that opened 12 months ago.