What is the change? The Minister has announced that from 17 April 2019 applications to sponsor parents for either 3 years or 5 years under the new subclass 870 will be open. Visa applications will be open from 1 July 2019.
- The Government has announced that 15,000 visas in this category will be granted in each program year.
- There is no "balance of family" test for this visa as it provides for temporary entry of biological or step-parents.
- The sponsors must be Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents who are usually resident in Australia for four years.
Implementation time frame: Sponsorship applications will be available from 17 April 2019 and the visa applications with approved sponsors will be available from 1 July 2019.
Visas/permits affected: This is a new category of visa and is a temporary visa for entry of up to five years.
Costs: This is a new category of visa and the sponsor nomination government charge is $420 and the visa applicant charge is $5000 for 3 years duration and $10,000 for five year duration.
Who is affected: Australian citizens/permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to apply for sponsorship of a biological, adoptive or step-parent.
Impact on processing times: Processing times are unknown as this is a new visa class.The initial sponsor and visa applications may go through relatively quickly. However, as has been the case in other parent visa categories, the queue may increase quickly and this may extend processing times.
Analysis & Comments:
This has been a highly anticipated visa and it likely to prove popular with many Australian permanent residents and citizens who would like to bring out a parent for an extended period of time.
The huge advantage of this visa over the other parent visa sub-categories is that the "balance of family" test will not apply. That will open the market to many more people who are now able to sponsor their parent to Australia.
Financial capability for the sponsor will be a necessary requirement to demonstrate that the sponsor is able to support the parent or parents in Australia for an extended period of time. This is particularly the case as the visa holders will not be granted work rights and will have to maintain health insurance while they are in Australia.
Note that there are sponsorship obligations with this visa subclass and all sponsors should review these obligations in detail prior to making an application. For the sponsor a minimum household income will also apply.
Detailed information on this visa may be found on the Department's website.
Action required: if you are considering lodging a parent visa sponsorship or visa application then it would be prudent to discuss the changes with your immigration consultant to understand how the new measures could potentially affect your prospective application.
We anticipate that this will be a popular option for many and also is open to more sponsors than the other visa subclasses which apply for parents. Therefore, the number of applications may be high and the queue for sponsors and applications may grow quickly.