The Australian Government has announced the introduction of a new visa for the parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
The new visa is to be introduced from the 1st of July, 2017.
The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has announced a period of consultation to “assist the Government with the final design of the new temporary visa and the legislative changes required to implement it.”
In this regard a Discussion Paper has been published by the Department of Immigration.
Public submissions are to be delivered by midnight on the 31st of October, 2016.
Key components of the intended new temporary parent visa are:
- The visa is to be a temporary residency visa, with most probably a validity period of 5 years.
- The sponsor will need to have been living in (and contributing to) Australia for a number of years. According to the Australian Government: “This will ensure sponsors have had sufficient time to become engaged with the Australian community and to contribute to Australia financially. A longer period of contribution in Australia would provide a higher priority in eligibility.”
- The sponsor will be required to show s/he can support the parents. This will include an assessment of income and assets.
- The sponsorship assessment will be a separate process, and will need to be completed before a visa application can be submitted. Sponsors will need to undergo a criminal history check, and to agree to a range of enforceable obligations.
- The balance of family test will not apply to this new visa.
- The new parent visa will have a requirement to maintain adequate health insurance requirement with an Australian insurance provider.
- A bond arrangement based on the current Assurance of Support scheme for the permanent parent visas is anticipated. The Australian Government advises that options for such a scheme “would need to consider the size of any potential debt that could be incurred, noting the Productivity Commission’s estimate of cumulative lifetime costs of each parent visa holder.”
- Bond options under consideration are:
- A contingent loan, similar to Australia’s Higher Education Loan Program. This could be applied where unpaid debts have accrued which would then be repaid through the income tax system
- An investment paid into a State or Territory Government Treasury Bond, likely to be similar to the present Designated Investments used with subclass 405 Investor Retirement visas and Investor visas generally under the business skills visa program. The investment would be returned when the visa ceases, less any amounts owing to the State or Territory health system.
- A legally binding agreement, enforceable by any person who is owed the debt.
- The new visa will require a Visa Application Charge to be paid, the level of which “will need to be set in consideration of the potential budget impact of temporary parent visa holders who will not be in the workforce.”
The Discussion Paper also advises that: “In order to apply for the new visa, it will not be necessary for the parent to have also applied for a permanent parent visa. Parents can however, continue to lodge a permanent visa application if they wish.”
This is helpful for parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents who are considering applying for a parent visa, as it indicates the Australian Government’s intention for permanent parent visa pathways to continue to be available.
It remains to be seen though whether these permanent parent visas will be in their present form; we presently think this is improbable, otherwise the temporary parent visa will be an unattractive alternative.
We are therefore recommending to all intending parent visa applicants that they progress an application at the earliest opportunity while a known pathway exists, as changes to parent visas are on the way and it is improbable that the requirements to be met in future will be easier than exist presently.
If you would like to discuss your parent visa strategy please complete the enquiry form on this page. Go Matilda Visas will be pleased to have an initial no obligation discussion with you.