Often, emigration can be a fairly solitary affair – your visa and paperwork is approved, you line up a job and somewhere to live, and suddenly you find yourself half a world away from your family and loved ones. Sometimes, this may even have been part of the reason for moving away in the first place, but more usually, family members choose to come with you so that you can restart your lives together somewhere new! This is especially the case when there are new children and grandchildren you may need family assistance in caring for. So how do you go about bringing your parents to Australia?

Visa options

There are several different visa types which you can apply for if you wish to bring the rest of your family to Australia. If you are looking specifically at parent migration, you can apply for a parent visa (subclass 103) or an onshore aged parent visa (subclass 804).

Those eligible to apply for the parent visa are those whose children already live in Australia as either Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. In order to obtain the visa, parents must be sponsored by their children, who must have lived in Australia for at least two years immediately prior to lodging the application.

An additional criterion is that you must be able to prove that at least half of your children live permanently in Australia, or that more of your children live in Australia than anywhere else. This is known as the “balance of family” test. It is important to remember that the parent visa is a “low priority” visa – meaning that you may have to wait for some time before the visa is approved.

A similar visa is the onshore aged parent visa, which is available for parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents who meet the age requirements for the pension in Australia (currently 67) and who are already in Australia. Again, this visa option may be subject to a long waiting time.

All parental visa applicants need to be supported by a sponsor – generally the child. In addition, all applicants must provide an Assurance of Support from a person, not necessarily the sponsor, who commits to provide financial support to the visa applicant and to repay the Australian Government any welfare payments. Further, some providers of an Assurance of Support must pay a bond of up to $10,000 to the Australian Government. For contributory parent visas, the Assurance and legal commitment lasts for ten years, and two years for all other types of visas. Any bond paid is also eligible for repayment after that time.

Other options for immigration to Australia

Additional options may include the contributory parent visa or the onshore contributory aged parent visa. The contributory visas may have 2 stages – temporary (permitting residency for up to two years) followed by permanent. It is assessed and awarded much faster than the other categories of parenting visas. For this reason, it can also be significantly more expensive, particularly if you are seeking permanent visas.

Bringing your parents to Australia can be a lengthy process. For this reason, particularly if your parents are already ageing, it is important that you start on the visa application as soon as possible after you have made the decision to do so. To make this process easier on you and your parents, and to improve your chances of speedy success, obtain migration advice from a registered migration agent who can walk you through every step, and provide you with recommendations on the appropriate visa for your circumstances.

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