Retirees pathway to a permanent visa begin 17 November 2018 but only for 8 May 2018 visa holders

In last year’s budget, it was announced that existing retirement (Subclass 405 – Investor Retirement and Subclass 410 – Retirement) visa holders would be eligible to apply for a permanent visa shortly before the temporary retirement visas were shut down to any new applicant from 1 July 2018.

Finally, the regulations for the promised permanent visa pathway have been released with a commencement date set for 17 November 2018.

For the 2887 (as of 30 April 2018) or so retirement visa holders, only those who held a retirement visa on 8 May 2018 (the date of the budget announcement) and who have not held another substantive visa other than a retirement visa will be eligible to apply. This leaves out the post-8 May 2018 retirement visa holders, who will be restricted to applying for further 410 visas.

The new regulations will add retirement visas to the list of visas that a person who is in Australia, does not hold a substantive visa, and whose visa has been cancelled or whose application for a further visa has been refused. This is important because it will provide for any refused permanent visa applicants an ability to obtain another temporary retirement visa. This means, however, that from 18 November 2018, only those who hold or whose last substantive visa was a 410 visa will be able to apply for another 410 visa. This is to stop a potential loophole that could have allowed continual vexatious applications by any applicant to delay their departure. Furthermore, claimed spouses or de facto partners of 410 visa holders will not be allowed to apply from this date unless they too held a 410 visa. The impact of this change is expected to be minimal.

Perhaps for legal efficiency, instead of creating a new subclass of visa, retirement visa holders will be able to apply for either a Subclass 103 – Parent visa, or a Subclass 143 – Contributory Parent visa. There are two implications here. Firstly, any person granted this visa will take up a place in the limited parent visa program. Secondly, potential applicants will need to decide whether they wish to pay a higher secondary visa application charge and be granted their permanent visa earlier by applying for a 143 visa or wait an excessively long time by applying for a 103 visa. There is a small upside, however, in that retirees will be granted a relevant bridging visa to remain in Australia as they must be in Australia at the time of application. Bridging visa are not granted to any current 103 or 143 visa applicants, and will not be granted to any future non-retiree parent visa applicants. Retiree applicants, however, must maintain health insurance while their application is processing: condition 8501.

The typical main criteria for these parent visas will, obviously, not apply, such as:

  • being a parent and sponsored by a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen;

  • satisfying the balance of family test; and

  • requiring an Assurance of Support.

This effectively creates a retiree stream without calling it one. Retiree applicants will still have to meet the standard public interest criteria (PIC) including the more stringent health criterion, PIC 4005, however, should they be refused on health grounds, they should consider another 410 visa, or alternatively consider a Subclass 602 – Medical Treatment visa if they are unfit to depart Australia.

Retiree applicants for parent visas can be in or outside Australia at the time of grant.