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SOUTHERN MAN IMMIGRATION BLOG

Parent Visas Australia

October 5, 2023
Myer Lipschitz

Understanding Parent Visas in Australia

If you’re a parent and your child is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, and you’re considering relocating to Australia, then a Parent Visa could be your gateway.

A Parent Visa is specifically designed to allow parents to live in Australia temporarily or permanently with their children who are either Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens. The key objective of this visa is to reunite families, offering parents an opportunity to experience the same lifestyle, rights, and benefits as their children who are settled in Australia. The Australian government provides many parent visa options, so it’s important to understand which category best suits your circumstances.

Australia’s Parent Visa options are categorized broadly into Contributory and Non-Contributory Parent Visas. Within these categories, there are several sub-classes, such as the Contributory Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 173), the Contributory Parent (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 143), and the Aged Parent Visa, among others. Each category and sub-class caters to different needs, financial capabilities, and timelines – all of which we will explore in more detail below.

Visa Category

Visa Subclass

Balance of Family Test Required

Cost (AUD)

Estimated Processing Times

Contributory

Contributory Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 173)

Yes

AUD32,340

2-4 years

Contributory Parent (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 143)

Yes

Yes (if transitioning from 173)

6-12 years

Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 884)

Yes

Yes 

2-4 years

Contributory Aged Parent (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 864)

Yes

Yes 

6-12 years

Non-Contributory

Parent Visa (Subclass 103)

Yes

AUD4,990.00

More than 30 years

Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804)

Yes

No

More than 30 years

Special Category

Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 870)

No

Up to 3 years AUD5,735

Up to 5 years AUD11,470

7-8 months

Eligibility Requirements for Parent Visas in Australia

The first thing you should consider before applying for any Parent Visa is whether you meet the basic eligibility criteria, which can vary depending on the type of Parent Visa you’re applying for. This involves factors such as your age, the status of your child in Australia, and your financial capability to contribute financially to Australia. In particular, you’ll need to ensure that you have a child who is eligible and willing to sponsor your visa application.

Here’s what you need to consider:

Sponsorship

Before you apply for an Australian Parent Visa, you must be sponsored. Your sponsor must be your child, and they must be either an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen. Your sponsor must also be 18 years or older and should have lived lawfully in Australia for at least two years before the visa application is lodged.

Financial Guarantees

In some cases, your sponsor might be required to provide a financial guarantee for your potential obligations to the Australian government. This is often seen in Contributory Parent Visas, where sponsors are required to provide an Assurance of Support, which acts as a legal commitment to support you financially during your stay in Australia.

Age Limitations

While Parent Visas in Australia generally don’t impose a strict age limit, ‘Aged Parent’ visas do. In most cases, parents need to be at least 65 years old to qualify for Aged Parent visa types including the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (subsclass 884), Contributory Aged Parent Visa (subsclass 864) and Aged Parent Visa (subsclass 804). 

Health Checks  

You and your family members must also meet specific health and character requirements for Australian Parent Visas. Health checks will ensure that you and your family members do not pose a threat to public health and that the Australian Government is not burdened with additional healthcare costs. The examination covers general health metrics and may also include specific tests depending on your age and the visa subclass you are applying for.

Character Checks

A character assessment is also mandatory. You may be asked to provide a police certificate from each country where you and your accompanying family members have lived for 12 months or more during the last 10 years. Any past criminal convictions, especially those involving violence, child protection, or public safety matters, will be taken into consideration.

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Visa Types

When it comes to Parent Visas, Australia offers several visa options to consider, each catering to a different set of circumstances, financial capabilities, and timelines.

Contributory Parent Visa

The Contributory Parent Visa category generally has a shorter processing time and higher costs compared to other categories. 

Subclasses Under Contributory Parent Visas

  • Contributory Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 173): Allows you to live in Australia for up to two years. You can later apply for a permanent Contributory Parent Visa.
  • Contributory Parent (Permanent) Visa (Subclass 143): Offers permanent residence in Australia, often considered after holding a Subclass 173 visa.
  • Contributory Aged Parent Visas (Subclass 884 and 864): Designed for older parents who meet the age requirement, these visas offer temporary and permanent options, respectively.

Non-contributory Parent Visa

The second type is the Non-contributory Parent Visa. If you’re not in a rush to move and are looking for a more economically viable option, Non-Contributory Parent Visas may suit you. This visa type generally has a longer processing time and lower costs compared to the Contributory Parent Visa.

Subclasses Under Non-Contributory Parent Visas

  • Parent Visa (Subclass 103): This is a permanent visa that allows you to live in Australia indefinitely but comes with an extensive waiting period.
  • Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804): This visa is for older parents and allows them to live in Australia permanently. However, like the Parent Visa, it has a long waiting period.

Sponsored Parent Temporary Visa (Subclass 870): A Unique Temporary Residency Option

Apart from the traditional Contributory and Non-Contributory Parent Visa categories, Australia offers the Sponsored Temporary Parent visa (subclass 870), which allows parents to visit and stay in Australia for up to five years temporarily. It is specifically tailored for parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to reside in Australia temporarily.

It serves a unique purpose, offering a temporary stay of up to five years per visa grant, with an opportunity to renew for an additional five years, reaching a cumulative maximum of ten years. Unlike the Contributory and Non-Contributory options, which provide pathways to permanent residency, the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa is explicitly designed for temporary residence and does not offer a route to permanent settlement or Australian citizenship.

The Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa may serve as a suitable alternative for those who find other Parent Visa categories less feasible or aligned with their circumstances.

joy of family reunions in Australia after a successful Parent Visa Australia application

Balance of Family Test: A Critical Factor

The Balance of Family Test is a crucial eligibility criterion for both Contributory and Non-Contributory Parent Visas. This test essentially gauges the extent of your family’s connection to Australia, serving as a way for the Australian government to prioritize applicants who have a majority of their children residing in Australia as citizens or permanent residents.

The test calculates the number of your children who are permanently settled in Australia as citizens or permanent residents against the total number of your children residing in any country. To pass the test, either:

  • At least half of your children must be living in Australia as Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • More of your children must be permanently residing in Australia than in any single other country.

For example, if you have four children, at least two must be living in Australia as citizens or permanent residents for you to pass the test. Alternatively, if you have five children, and two are in Australia while the other three are in different countries (not together in the same foreign country), you would still meet the Balance of Family Test criteria.

Visa Application Process

Preliminary Steps: Preparation and Planning

Before diving into the application, it’s crucial to determine which type of Parent Visa best suits your circumstances: Contributory, Non-Contributory, or Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 870). Your choice will influence the requirements, processing time, and costs involved.

Documentation Required

To apply for a parent visa in Australia, you’ll need to gather several important documents. These include:

  • Identity and Citizenship Documents: Proof of identity, such as a valid passport, and proof of relationship with the sponsoring child, such as a birth certificate.
  • Health Checks: Medical examinations by approved panel doctors are typically required to demonstrate you meet health standards.
  • Character Assessments: Police checks from every country you’ve lived in for a cumulative period of 12 months or more over the past decade are needed to pass character requirements.
  • Financial Documents: These can include bank statements, income tax records, or employment contracts to demonstrate your or your sponsor’s financial capacity to support the visa.
  • Sponsorship Forms: Documents showing that your sponsor, typically your child who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, has been approved.
  • Balance of Family Test: Proof of the number, nationality, and residence of all your children is required for Contributory and Non-Contributory Parent Visas.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

Once you have all the documents ready, you can now submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). It’s a way for you to inform the Australian immigration authority that you intend to apply for a Parent Visa. The EOI is done through SkillSelect, an online platform that manages EOIs for various Australian visas.

To submit an EOI, you’ll need to create an account on the SkillSelect platform, fill in the required details, and answer a series of questions about your personal circumstances, family, and other eligibility criteria. While the EOI itself is free to submit, it does not guarantee a visa or an invitation to apply for a visa. It’s merely the first step in a multi-step process.

It’s essential to ensure that all documents are complete and correctly submitted as per the requirements outlined by the Department of Home Affairs. Missing or incorrect information could lead to delays or even rejection of your visa application.

filling out paperwork for Parent Visa Australia application

Parent Visa Application Cost

For those considering the Contributory Parent Visa route, the costs are significantly higher, often ranging between AUD 40,000 to AUD 50,000 per applicant. The higher fees contribute to the expedited processing times associated with this visa type. On the other hand, the Non-Contributory Parent and Aged Parent Visas are more budget-friendly, with application fees generally falling in the range of AUD 6,000 to AUD 10,000.

Parent Visa Application Processing Time

  • Contributory Parent Visas generally take between 2-5 years to be processed
  • Parent & Aged Parent Visas generally take 30+ years to be processed

Given these extended timelines and complexities, it’s highly advisable to consult immigration lawyers who can provide expert guidance through the visa application process.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Myer Lipschitz

Myer Lipschitz was born in Johannesburg and is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1985 he was conferred the degree Bachelor of Laws. Myer completed his Articles of Clerkship with Ivor Trackman, Attorneys and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1988. Myer immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 and was admitted to practice law in New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand...

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