Temporary Long Stay Parent Visa now approved by Parliament

20/12/2018

The new temporary parent visa is aimed at limiting the burden on health care to the Australian community. Medicare provides Australians with access to a range of subsidised medical services who make lifetime contributions to these subsidies through their income tax and annual Medicare levy. Parents who arrive in Australia towards the end of their working life have not made this level of contribution. It is estimated that the cumulative lifetime costs for a parent visa holder in 2015 - 2016 was between AUD335,000 and AUD410,000 which is considerably more than the revenue generated via the current 2nd Visa Application Charge.

Currently, the number of visa places available for parents is small resulting in a 4 year wait in order to be granted a visa. The government's intention is that the new temporary parent visa arrangement should help reduce processing times and enable parents to join their children and grandchildren in Australia more quickly. The "Balance of Family" test will no longer apply to parents but visa holders will not be able to work or access Medicare. Parents will therefore be required to maintain adequate private health insurance throughout their authorised stay in Australia with the sponsor also undertaking responsibility to pay for private health insurance for their parent(s).

Under the new arrangements, it is expected that parents would be able to apply for a 3 year visa at a cost of AUD5,000 or a 5 year visa at a cost of AUD10,000. The 5 year visa would present an option to be renewed once at a cost of a further AUD10,000.

Sponsors will have a very important role play in supporting their parents, particularly in situations where they are not financially independent and will need to take responsibility for ensuring that their parent does not become a burden on the Australian community. Parents must be sponsored by their child who will need to demonstrate that he/she is settled in Australia as a citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and have been living and contributing to Australia for a number of years. A longer period of contribution in Australia would provide a higher priority in eligibility. The sponsorship assessment will be a separate process which will be completed before a visa application can be submitted. Sponsors will need to undergo a criminal history check plus an assessment of their income and assets.

Assurance of Support

An Assurance of Support bond based on the current scheme will also be required to be lodged and approved before a visa can be granted. Under a bond scheme, sponsors will be required to provide either a financial bond as a debt security or an equivalent legally binding commitment. A bond arrangement can assist in recouping costs where sponsorship obligations have not been honoured. Any bond amount may need to be significant in order to cover a parent's potential health costs over a five year period.

 

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