Your (biological, adopted or step) parents may be considered for permanent residency or a temporary for an extended period depending on the type of criteria that they satisfy. Parents are regarded as immediate members of the family unit under the current travel ban exemption policies, and hence parents looking to travel to Australia temporarily on a visitor visa may now do so with a travel ban exemption.
The first and foremost most critical question to ask is: does your parent meet the balance of the family test?
What is the balance of the family test?
Put simply, the majority of your parent's (biological, adopted or step) children must be usually resident of Australia and Australian permanent residents or citizens.
Where there is no strict legislative definition of what "usually resident" means, the period that is typically referred to is 4 years in the context of parent visas.
Requirements on sponsors
Typically, sponsors of parents will need to fulfil income tests and this can vary depending on the number of child dependents the sponsor has, the number of parents the sponsor is looking to sponsor, and whether another assurer (such as the son or daughter in law) is available to support the sponsorship.
Contributory and non-contributory parent visas
There are two categories of parent visas that lead into permanent residency: contributory and non-contributory.
The non-contributory parent visas carry longer processing times of anywhere from 25 to 50 years. Contributory parent visas have shorter processing times of about 4-5 years. The costs of contributory parent visas are much higher than that of the non-contributory visas.
Sponsors of the contributory parent visas are also required to provide an Assurance of Support (AOS) bond to the Australian government. The period by which sponsors are required to leave the bond with Centrelink for and the amount of bond required are dependent on a number of factors, such as the visa type, your relationship status and the number of parents that they are sponsoring.
A contributory parent visa application typically requires a bond of at least $10,000 to be held with Centrelink for 10 years plus up to about $52,000 in visa application charges in total (about $2800 to $5000 payable at the time of visa application, and the rest payable before the visa is finalised which typically takes about 5 years).However, the advantage of contributory parent visas is that they typically take significantly less time than the non-contributory parent visas.
Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
This one may be seen as the mid-way between the non-contributory and contributory parent visa types. There is no bond required for this parent visa, and the processing times are fairly short. Applications should be made offshore, although there have been exceptions made for certain cases to apply onshore such as due to health considerations for the parents who are currently onshore.
The Department's visa application charge is $1000 at the time of application, and $4000 at the time of decision if you are requesting 3 years of stay and $9000 at the time of decision if you are requesting 5 years of stay. Private health insurance must be organised throughout the period of the visa.
Some of the parent visas do not carry with them a bridging visa, which means that even if your parent is allowed to apply onshore, they may not extend their stay on a bridging visa.
If your parent is considered to be of pension age, i.e. ranging from 64 to 68 (this is dependent on the year that the applicant is born in), they may be able to apply for the aged category of parent visas that allows them to be onshore and stay onshore during the visa processing time, provided they are holding a substantive visa such as a visitor visa at the time of visa application.
(There are 6 types of parent visas: the Temporary Contributory Parent Visa (subclass 173) , the Permanent Contributory Visa (subclass 143), the Temporary Contributory Aged Parent Visa (subclass 884), the Permanent Contributory Aged Parent visa.)
Health and character criteria
All applicants are required to attend a health exam and satisfy the health criterion. If one of the applicants does not satisfy the health criterion, the entire application fails.
All applicants are also required to satisfy character requirements.
Limitations on applying for a parent visa onshore, i.e. in Australia
There are some circumstances which can stop applicants from applying for a parent visa in Australia, including but not limited to:
- If your parent's current visa grant shows a visa condition that stops them from applying for another visa while in Australia
- if your parent holds a sponsored visitor visa
- if your parent had a previous visa refusal or cancellation, and/or does not hold a substantive visa
A quick overview of the costs
Subclass 173 (Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa)
The base VAC payable is $2800 and the second VAC payable before the visa is finalised is $1825. You can’t apply for this if the applicant has already previously made a valid application for another parent visa and a decision to grant or refuse that visa has not been made OR the application has not been withdrawn. This means that you must not hold a SC 870 sponsored parent (temporary) visa.
Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent visa) (Permanent)
The base VAC payable is $365 and the second VAC payable before the visa is finalised is $43,000.
Subclass 103 (Parent visa)
This permanent visa requires the applicant be outside Australia at time of grant. Processing times are long, and may likely be over 7-10 years. VAC starts from $6415. The applicant has to apply as retiree only. The required base VAC is $4350.
Subclass 864 (Contributory Aged Parent visa)
This is a contributory permanent visa that requires the applicant be of at least pension age, i.e. ranging from 64 to 68 (this is dependent on gender and the year that the applicant is born in). The visa applicant must be in Australia at the time of application and time of grant.
The base VAC payable can vary. $4155 is payable if temporary (contributory aged parent temporary visa) visa has already been applied for and $19,420 is payable for the second VAC if temporary visa applied for. If a temporary (contributory aged parent temporary visa) visa was not applied for, the second VAC payable is $43,600.
Subclass 804 (Aged Parent visa)
This is a Permanent Aged Parent Visa. The Applicant must be in Australia at the time of application and time of grant. The required base VAC is $4350, second VAC payable being $2065.
Subclass 884 (Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa)
The base VAC payable is $4155 and the second VAC payable is $2095.
Subclass 870 (Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa)
This is a temporary visa granted from 3 to 5 years. There is no permanent residency pathway from this visa but it allows your parent(s) to visit Australia for periods longer than what would typically be offered to visitor visa holders. In addition, your parent would not have to meet the balance of family test for this visa.
As a sponsor for your parent, you must have at least a taxable income of $83,454.80 per annum. Your spouse may also be the sponsor of your parent. Your parent must have private health insurance cover for the entire period of their stay.
This visa typically requires the visa applicant to be offshore at the time of visa lodgement.
Parents who are sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa holders and fully vaccinated are now able to travel to Australia without having to apply for a travel ban exemption.
A noteworthy reminder
Once you have applied for a parent visa, you may not look at applying for another type of parent visa unless the previous one has been validly withdrawn. Furthermore, given that the processing times for several types of parent visas are so long, important to choose the parent visa that is appropriate for your parents' circumstances and long-term outlook.
To clarify or plan ahead for your parents, seek professional advice now with a registered migration agent.
At Kin Migration, we are centred on providing timely and tailored support. Book your Strategy Session for:
- Detailed advice from an experienced Registered Migration Agent on the critical requirements applicable to you and your parents
- Expert guidance on how to make the best of your evidence
- Discover the most suitable option based on your priorities
- A strict focus on the most straightforward pathway to permanent residency
Disclaimer: The content on this page does not constitute legal or immigration advice. For advice on your specific circumstances, please book a Strategy Session here to speak to our Australian-registered migration consultant.