Category Archives: 884 visas

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.

Aged Parent Visas – Changes to the Meaning of Aged

Those who have a child living in Australia and who meet the balance of family test can consider an onshore parent visa application if one of the visa applicants is “aged” (as defined).

A parent is defined as being aged if s/he is old enough to be granted an Age Pension under Australia’s Social Security Act 1991.

Since the 1st of July 2013 the threshold age has been 65 for men and for women.

However, the age at which Age Pension is available is increasing from the 1st of July, 2017.

More specifically, from the 1st of July, 2017 the minimum age for both men and women to qualify for the Age Pension will increase, such that for men and women born on or after the 1st of July, 1952 the pension age will progressively increase by 6 months every 2 years until it reaches 67 on the 1st of July, 2023.

The changes to the age at which the Age Pension is available – and hence when an individual will be able to apply for an onshore parent visa – are described more fully at this webpage.

To recap, the following sub classes are onshore parent visas:

  • 804, Aged Parent
  • 864, Contributory Aged Parent
  • 884, Contributory Aged Parent  (Temporary)