UPDATE: An update to contributory parent visa numbers can be found here.
Last week, a new instrument updated the number of parent and other family member visas to be approved this financial year to include a cap on the number of contributory parent visas that can be granted. This is the first time in recent memory, if not ever, that contributory parent visas have their numbers limited.
The Migration Act empowers the Minister to determine the maximum number of visas of a certain class that can be granted in any financial year. This power does not allow the Minister to cap the number of temporary protection visas or safe haven enterprise visas.
Non-contributory parent visas have been capped for a number of years. The rationale for this is simply that Australia’s welfare system could not be manageable otherwise. Invariably, the cost to Australia’s public healthcare system, and an increase in the total cost for the age pension when parent visa holders becomes eligible would blow out the nation’s social services budget.
Parent visas can be classified into a number of categories. One is whether it is a contributory or non-contributory parent visa. Contributory parent visas require a second visa application charge requested prior to grant, which is currently $43,600 per applicant over 18 years old. This can be split over two visas (a temporary then permanent visa), however, there will need to be two separate applications, further visa application charges, and because this fee is indexed every year, a slightly higher total fee. Given that a Productivity Commission report said the cost of each migrant parent to the Australian taxpayer is between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, the second visa application charge should be considered a bargain.
The benefit of a contributory parent visa is faster processing. The current processing time of just over 3 years is much faster than the 30-year wait for non-contributory parent visas, a reason for the premium.
The new legislative instrument, however, now limits the number of contributory parent visas that can be granted to 7175 this financial year. This affects:
Subclass 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary) visas,
Subclass 143 – Contributory Parent visas,
Subclass 884 – Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visas, and
Subclass 864 – Contributory Aged Parent visas.
For non-contributory parent visas, the number of visas that can be granted this financial year has shrunk by 50, and is now 1500 visas. This affects:
Subclass 103 – Parent visas, and
Subclass 804 – Aged parent visas.
Additionally, other family visas have been reduced by 20 visas to 500. This affects:
Subclass 114 and Subclass 838 – Aged Dependent Relative visas,
Subclass 115 and Subclass 835 – Remaining Relative visas, and
Subclass 116 and Subclass 836 – Carer visas.
Other family visas have an estimated wait time of a ridiculous 50 years.
Contributory parent visas will continue to be a more attractive option especially since the new formula for calculating the salary requirements for the mandatory 10-year Assurance of Support (AoS) was scrapped, removing any reference to the newstart income cut-off, which was the basis for a significant increase in salary requirements. The 12-month AoS requirement for the Community Support Programme for humanitarian visas, however, remains.
Lastly, to complete the updated picture on parent visas, the proposed temporary parent visa is stuck in legislative limbo as related laws have not yet passed the Senate.