The Australian Federal Budget has been handed down today.
Hidden away on page 14 of the revenue measures (pdf reader required) is the following narrative:
The Government will introduce a pathway to permanent residency for holders of Retirement (subclass 410) and Investor Retirement (subclass 405) visas.
From 2018-19, a portion of the planned parent permanent migration places will be quarantined for retirement visa holders each year. Retirement visa holders in Australia will be eligible to apply onshore for a permanent visa through the Parent (subclass 103) or Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visa streams.
Retirement visa holders will be exempted from some parent visa requirements that they would typically be unable to meet, such as having family in Australia.
The pathway will remain open until all retirement visa holders who wish to transition to permanent residency have done so.
As part of the establishment of the pathway, the Government will close the subclass 405 visa to new applicants. The subclass 410 visa is already closed to new applicants.
This measure continues Minister Dutton’s pattern of displacing visa applicants who are already awaiting the progression of an application: he has already undertaken a similar measure when introducing a skilled visa pathway for New Zealand citizens, displacing intending subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa applicants.
While this will be good news for the 405 and 410 visa holders in Australia who have been lobbying for permanent residency for many years the consequence for existing parent visa applicants is likely to be increased delays in the granting of their visas.
Indeed, we think it is surprising that parents of children in Australia – where the balance of family test is satisfied – will apparently be lower in the visa processing pecking order than those who will often have no other family in Australia.