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Parent visas

Parent visas - Contributory and Non-contributory


This, like many other visa areas, can be extremely confusing!  There are currently 6 different Parent visas, most easily separated into 'Contributory visas' (where the child or sponsor pays for their parent to move to Australia) and 'Non-contributory visas'.  There are a large number of restrictions on both visa types, most noticeably the length of time take for the applications to be processed (on non-contributory visas this is currently up to 30 years) and the costs involved (very high, in some cases over A$45,000 per applicant).  However other things are taken in to consideration including:

  • The applicant's age
  • Where the applicant currently resides

In general, parents may be eligible to migrate to Australia if their child (natural child by birth, adopted or step-child) is in Australia and is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Permanent options allow a five-year stay in Australia (following which you will need to apply for further visas, such as Resident Return Visas, to continue living lawfully in Australia), work and study, access Medicare, travel, and eventually consider application for citizenship.

While contributory parent visas have much shorter processing times, allowing for more feasible options, they are much more expensive.

The advantage of non-contributory visas is that the costs are significantly lower. However the enforced ‘cap and queue’ arrangement means a significant delay before consideration of applications due to the low number of places allocated each program year.

Applicants may also consider first applying for the temporary options and then transitioning to the permanent options so as to stagger the costs of the fees to the Department into manageable amounts.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for a parent visa, you must be sponsored by your child, or another eligible sponsor, in Australia. Your spouse and other dependent family members may be included in your application if they meet the specified requirements. To be eligible for this visa, you must pass the Balance of Family test and meet age requirements.

Balance of Family Test

The total number of children and their permanent residence location affects the balance of family test. The test specifies that:

  • At least half of your children should be permanent residents in Australia;OR
  • You should have more children living permanently in Australia than in any other country

The Balance of Family test can be complex, with possibility of several combinations.

  • The sc870 visa does not require the Balance of Family test

Age Criteria

An ‘aged parent’ is one who is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension. However, there is a waiting period of 10 years before you can receive the Australian age pension (unless there is a reciprocal agreement with another country which pays you a pension).

Note: The requirement to be an ‘aged parent’ is necessary only for the primary applicant for an onshore parent visa.

Note: There are a limited number of parent visa grants each year, and this number is reviewed annually by the Australian Immigration Authority.

Depending on where the applicants are located, they can apply for an onshore or offshore visa.

Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 870)

This is a temporary visa allowing the parent of an Australian citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or eligible New Zealand citizens. There are a couple of options as well as some specific conditions:

  • Apply for a 3 year or 5 year visa with the costs set currently as:
    • Up to 3 years $5000
    • Up to 5 years $10000
  • Visa holders can apply for further subclass 870 visas to a maximum period of 10 years
  • Not limited to the length of stay upon arrival in Australia like visitor visas
  • The visa holder cannot work while holding this visa

To begin the process, the sponsor must be approved before application can proceed. The sponsor must:

      • Be an Australian citizen OR Australian permanent resident OR eligible New Zealand resident usually resident in Australia for the last 4 years
      • Have not been unlawful or held a bridging visa (other than A,B or C) in the last 4 years
      • Pass the income test - minimum taxable income $83,454 for the most recent tax year.  This can be a combination of the sponsor and their partner/spouse's income

How can TranQuill Legal help you?

We strongly recommend before you embark on the process of lodging a parent visa you discuss the options with us as we would need to assess your eligibility and requirements fully.  There are a number of alternative solutions that can end up being significantly cheaper than others and in many cases more successful. Contact one of our Registered Migration Agents today by calling our Canberra office on +61 (0)2 61405311 or email [email protected] or use our contact form and one of the team will be in touch to arrange a consultation within 24 business hours.