Category Archives: 143 visas

Subclass 870 visa renewals – The need to be outside Australia – Visa strategy for subclass 870 visa holders

The first subclass 870 Sponsored Parent Temporary Visas were granted almost 3 years ago.   With the validity of these visas coming to an end and the processing time for subclass 143 visas extending significantly beyond what was expected when the first SPTVs were granted thoughts are now turning to the requirements for subclass 870 visa renewals – including most notably the need to be offshore (outside Australia) for a period of time.

Underpinning the requirements for the granting of visas generally is legislation (ie the law) and Department of Home Affairs policy guidance.

Relevantly, the Migration Regulations say in the time of application requirements for subclass 870 visas:


(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.

The key to not departing Australia is therefore whether one can argue “exceptional circumstances.”

In this regard we have been advised by the Department as follows:

As a temporary visa, the SPTV does not provide a right to remain in Australia permanently. Clause 870.223 gives effect to the policy intention that an applicant must be outside Australia for at least 90 consecutive days before making an application for a second SPTV.

 If a SPTV holder is unable to depart Australia prior to the expiry of their visa, a sponsor can request that the visa holder be permitted to apply for a further SPTV in Australia, or they can apply for an alternative visa to maintain lawful status.

It should also be noted that Schedule 1 of the Migration Regulations 1994 says that: “… an applicant for a subclass 870 visa cannot be the holder of an 870 visa at the time the visa application is submitted.”

This means that an application for a further subclass 870 visa if an existing 870 visa is currently in effect will be an invalid application.

If one wants to remain in Australia upon the expiry of an existing 870 visa and is to seek a renewal 870 visa another visa will therefore be required between the two subclass 870 visas.

This might be – say – an onshore visitor visa (subclass 600), or a student visa (subclass 500).

Key in this regard is avoiding the inclusion of condition 8503 No Further Stay on the visa.

A condition 8503 prevents an application for another visa being submitted while in Australia.

Note: The Department of Home Affairs has announced a concession due to COVID restrictions on the ability to enter Australia.

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

This concession aims to assist 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 was extended under this concession, the additional 18 months will not count toward your cumulative 10 year maximum stay period.

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


Visa strategy and a consideration of timing are going to become key issues for parents who have subclass 870 visas.  

With a need for approval of the sponsor required before the 870 visa renewal application can be lodged there are real risks here for those who don’t understand the requirements and plan accordingly.

We foresee subclass 870 visa holders going through the distress and upset of having to depart Australia at short notice, or becoming unlawful – ie staying in Australia after the expiry of the 870 visa and not having applied for a further visa that will allow them to remain in Australia.

Many parents who hold subclass 870 visas have bought homes in Australia/have long term rental commitments for their homes, and have brought their personal wealth to Australia in anticipation of their application for permanent residency visas under subclass 143 visa (Contributory Parent) being processed on the basis of timelines advised on the website of the Department of Home Affairs.

As readers of this blog will know, these timelines are backward looking, and do not bear any resemblance to the actual timeline one should expect given the number of visa applications in the system and the number of visas being granted annually.

Details of visa processing times for parents are available here.

We strongly recommend that subclass 870 visa holders take active steps 6 to 12 months before the expiry of their visa to consider their visa strategy and what should be done to ensure there is no interruption in their ability to remain in Australia.

Go Matilda Visas is actively involved in advising parents as to their visa strategies, the preparation of parent visa applications, and the management of parent visa applications to a decision.  

If you require help and support we invite you to complete the enquiry form on this web page.


Number of parent visa applications – Retirement visa pathway

In the last 3 years subclass 410 (Retirement) and 405 (Investor Retirement) visa holders have been able to obtain permanent residency visas under subclass 143 or 103, without the need to have family living in Australia or to meet the balance of family test.

See the details discussed here.

In so doing these visa holders are able to access the Medicare public health care system in Australia.

Many subclass 410 and 405 visa holders are otherwise unable to access Medicare.

We have obtained details of the number of these applications in the system as at 31 August 2021:

Number of Retirement Pathway visa applications – at 31 Aug 2021

Given the Department of Home Affairs allocated 125 x Contributory Parent visas to Retirement visa pathway applicants in the year to 30 June 2021 and there were only 48 applications outstanding as at 31 August 2021 we consider that subclass 410 and 405 visa holders who apply now for permanent residency under subclass 143 can reasonably expect a permanent visa to be granted in the next 6 to 12 months, particularly if the application is decision ready and the visa applicants have no significant health issues.

Note: following enquiry of the Department regarding when we can reasonably expect subclass 103 visa applications made by subclass 410 and 405 visa holders to be processed we are advised that there is no allocation in the Migration Program for the year to 30 June 2022.   We therefore anticipate subclass 103 visas for Retirement Pathway applicants will start being processed in the Program year that starts on the 1st of July, 2022.    Information in this regard updated on 6 Jan 2022.

If you are a subclass 410 or 405 visa holder, would like to apply for permanent residency, and would like to have a free initial chat to discuss your options please complete the enquiry form on this web page.

Subclass 870 visa applications and Other parent visa applications – You need to submit them in the right order!

The details of Australia’s migration regulations are ignored by many, particularly by those who don’t appoint a registered migration agent.

The consequences of doing so can mean parents and their children may need to spend years apart in different countries in the future – or you might find that you spend money on an application for a subclass 870 visa that has to be withdrawn if you want to also apply for a parent visa that provides for permanent residency.

Here are the details:

Schedule 1 of Australia’s Migration Regulations prevents a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa applicant or visa holder from applying for another permanent or temporary Parent visa.

Here are relevant extracts from the Regulations which pertain to the parent visas under subclasses 143, 173, 864, 884, 103, and 804:

If the applicant has previously made a valid application for another parent visa:

(i)  a decision to grant or to refuse to grant that visa has been made; or

(ii)  the application for that visa has been withdrawn


The applicant:

(i)  does not hold a Subclass 870 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa; and

(ii)  if the applicant held such a visa—has left Australia since that visa ceased to be in effect.

The same provisions do not apply for a subclass 870 application.

In other words, if you are thinking of applying for a subclass 870 visa as well as (say) a permanent parent visa under subclass 143 make sure you apply for the subclass 143 visa first.

Applying for a subclass 870 visa first will prevent an application being made for the subclass 143 visa, unless you withdraw the subclass 870 visa application – costing at least A$1,000 per visa applicant, plus (potentially) the family sponsor application fee of A$420.

And if a subclass 870 visa has already been granted the visa holder will not be able to apply for a permanent residency visa until the time the 870 visa has ceased to be in effect, and the individual has left Australia.

Visa strategy is therefore critical.

If you think you need help with your parent visa application Go Matilda Visas invites you to complete the enquiry form on this web page for a free initial discussion.

Once we have had an initial chat we can send details to you of our fee for assisting with a parent visa application.

Travel Exemption Applications Now Open for Parents

Australian Government Media Release

​From today, parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for a travel exemption, for travel to Australia from 1 November 2021.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the changes would reunite many families separated by the pandemic.

See the full media release here.

Parent Visa Backlog Continues to Increase

The Australian Government has published its report on the delivery of the 2020/21 Migration Program.
Page 56 of the report discusses parent visa processing activity and clearly shows the number of visa applications awaiting decisions continuing to rise, with new parent visa application lodgments comfortably exceeding the number of visas being granted annually.
For program year 2020/21 (with 2019/20 in brackets) the numbers are as follows – these numbers include Contributory and non Contributory parent visas:
Number of applications – 14,827 (12,664)
Number of visas granted – 4,500 (4,399)
Applications on hand at 30 June – 114,359 (108,659)