Australian Parent and Visitor Visas
We're starting the new year with a blog post exploring Australian visa options for parents of overseas migrants. Australia is one of the most beautiful, economically prosperous and diverse countries in the world and starting a new life here is a wonderful opportunity. But, it can be difficult to live so far away from the rest of your family for the long term. Many migrants encourage their parents to move to Australia. But, how realistic is this? Let's look more closely at the available visas...
Permanent parent visas
Applying for a permanent parent visa is one option for parents of migrants hoping to move to Australia. However, these visas are out of reach for many people. Currently, there are two permanent parent visas – the Contributory Parent Visa and the Non-contributory Parent Visa:
The Contributory Parent Visa takes approximately 2 years to be approved and costs $45,000 per parent. The government attributes this high fee to medical expenses which may arise in the future.
The other option is a Non-contributory Parent Visa. This is far cheaper, but waiting time is currently 30 years.
Understandably, for many parents, neither of these permanent visas is suitable.
A visitor visa offers an alternative, quick and inexpensive way to enable your parents to spend time with family in Australia. Visitor visas with a long validity are available for parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens.
Longer stay visitor visas for parents
If your children are Australian permanent residents or citizens, you may be eligible for a longer stay visitor visa. You can only apply for a longer stay visitor visa from outside Australia.
A longer stay, multiple entry visitor visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to 12 months on each visit. The length of the visa will also depend on whether you’ve had a history of travelling to Australia previously and returning within your visa period (compliant travel). Longer validity periods are considered on an individual basis. You may be eligible for:
A 3 year visitor visa – if you have a history of compliant travel,
An 18 month visitor visa – if you have no history of compliant travel.
Visitor visas for Parent Visa applicants
If you’ve already applied for a permanent parent visa and are currently in the queue awaiting approval, you may be eligible for a longer stay visitor visa, valid for up to 5 years and allowing multiple entry of 12 months’ stay on each visit.
eVisitor visas and Electronic Travel Authority
You can apply for these short stay visitor visas online. An eVisitor visa is currently free of charge and available if you hold a passport from one of these countries.
If you don’t hold a passport from one of the above countries, the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visitor visa is another option. Online applications for this visa cost $20 to process and approval is usually granted within 24 hours.
The ETA visa is only available if you hold a passport from one of the countries listed here. Both visas allow multiple entry to Australia for up to 3 months at a time within a 12 month period.
Visitor visas: advantages and disadvantages
Visitor visas have some advantages over permanent parent visas, including:
Lower cost - Visitor visa fees are much lower than the cost of $45,000 for a permanent Contributory Parent Visa,
Faster processing - Visitor visas are normally granted in a few weeks at the most. The fast-track Contributory Parent Visa often takes more than 2 years to process.
Shorter stay in Australia - The maximum stay period a visitor visa can be granted for is 12 months, whereas permanent parent visa holders can stay for the long term,
No work rights - Permanent parent visa holders can work in Australia full time. Visitor visas have no Australian work rights,
No access to Australian healthcare system - Permanent parent visa holders have full access to the Australian healthcare system. Those on a visitor visa have no access and may need to arrange private healthcare.
It’s also important to show that you are spending no more than 12 months in Australia in each 18 month period, even if you have a long-stay visitor visa. For example, if you’ve just spent 12 months in Australia, you would need to spend at least the next 6 months overseas. If you stay longer than 12 months, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection may think you’re taking up 'de facto residence' and deny future entry to Australia or cancel your visitor visa.
Which visa? Contact FastVisa
Visitor visas are certainly a viable alternative to permanent parent visas. They’re quick and cost-effective, and if you manage to obtain a long-stay visitor visa, it can enable your parents to spend a significant period of time in Australia.
However, if you want your parents to move to Australia indefinitely, a permanent parent visa may still be the most suitable option. If you’re considering a parent visa, it’s best to apply as soon as possible to minimise costs and waiting time.
FastVisa can give you practical, balanced advice on permanent parent visas and/or visitor visas. Contact our friendly and experienced team today!