Parent Sponsorship in Australia

"Have money will travel" : This might as well be the motto for parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents. Find out how.


AustraliaVisa CategoryFamily Immigration - Parent/Grandparent
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Parent Sponsorship in Australia
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Updated December 31, 2017 | Australia

Sponsoring Parents in Australia: cash to pass fast

Money makes the world go ‘round, as Charles Dickens and the Broadway play, Cabaret explain.  In the case of Australia and New Zealand money moves parent visa applications faster.

Unlike the United States where the parent of a U.S. citizen could join the son or daughter within a year, the two Oceania countries have established difficult and expensive options for a parent to be reunited with their children.

New Zealand’s parent sponsorship program had been temporarily suspended.  Previously NZ citizens or permanent residents may sponsor parents through an Expression of Interest scheme similar to the Skilled Migration program.  Until the program is renewed, parents may apply as tourists or retirees. Parents intending to retire in NZ must show evidence of an annual income of NZ $60,000 plus NZ $1 million to invest for 4 years, and another NZ $500,000 to live on. After the 4-year period, the “retired” parent becomes eligible for permanent residence.

Processing of parent visas in Canada is also lengthy, however the Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) created a temporary visa for parents and grandparents so they could still be with the sponsoring son or daughter while waiting for the permanent resident visa to be current or ready for issuance.

Recently, Australia proposed a similar temporary visa for parents.  “On Friday 5 May 2017, the Government confirmed that, subject to the passage of relevant legislation, the temporary sponsored parent visa will be introduced during the 2017-18 Migration Program year.

The temporary sponsored parent visa is subject to passage of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and other Measures) Bill 2016 (the Bill) through Parliament. The Bill is currently before the Senate.

Balance of Family test. If only one son or daughter is in Australia and the others are in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world, a parent would be considered not eligible to apply for any parent visa subclass.

Parent Visas Australia

Eligibility – the applicant must

  • Have a child who is an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen,  living in Australia lawfully for at least 2 years before the parent visa application is lodged
  • Be sponsored by an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or 'eligible New Zealand citizen' settled as resident in Australia usually for two years.  (Sponsor could be a child - or child’s cohabiting partner- of the parent 18 years or older or Cohabiting partner 18 years or above of a child below 18. Sponsor may also be a relative or guardian of their child, or a community organization.
  • Meet the non-waivable Balance of family test criteria: at least half of applicant’s children must live permanently in Australia, or more of applicant’s children live permanently in Australia than in any one other country.
  • Provide an Assurance of Support which may or may not be the child sponsoring the parent. Non-contributory parent applicant must submit an AoS valid for two years
  • Comply with health and character requirements.

There are six visa subclasses for parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents.

  • Parent Subclass 103, Permanent, $6,010. application inside or outside Australia, 30-year wait
  • Contributory Parent Subclass 173, Temporary, $31,670
  • Contributory Parent Subclass 143, Permanent, $19,750, inside or outside application
  • Parent Subclass 804, Aged Parent visa, $6,010, apply onshore, 30-year wait
  • Parent Subclass 884, Temporary, 2 years stay, $32,900, apply onshore

Parent Visa Queue

The parent category includes both the Parent (non-contributory) and the Contributory Parent visas. The queue date is the date that the application was assessed as meeting the initial criteria for a Parent (non-contributory) visa. Once assigned, the fixed queue date cannot be given priority ahead of other applications. Applications are assessed, processed and finalized in order of their queue date as places become available.

Based on current planning levels, applicants for a Parent (non-contributory) visa can expect an approximate 30 year wait before visa grant consideration after being allocated a queue date.

Parent (non-contributory) visa applications have a lower processing priority than other visas in the family stream such as partners, children and contributory parent visas.

Contributory parent visa applications on the other hand

  • Are not subject to queueing arrangements
  • Have significantly shorter waiting periods for applications to be finalised
  • Are accorded a higher priority for processing
  • Pay a substantially higher second instalment of the visa application charge (per person) and a larger assurance of support (AoS) bond (with a longer AoS period).

In the 2017–18 Migration Program year:

  • 1,500 places have been allocated to Parent (non-contributory) visas (subclasses 103 and 804)
  • 7,175 places have been allocated to Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173/143 and subclasses 884/864).This visa lets parents of a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen live in Australia permanently.

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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