On 1 March 2019, Minister Coleman announced that applications to sponsor a parent for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa will be open from 17 April 2019.
Once a sponsorship application has been approved, a sponsored parent will be able to apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. Applications for the visa are intended to open from 1 July 2019
The visa provides parents with a new pathway to temporarily reunite with their children and grandchildren in Australia, while ensuring that taxpayers are not required to cover additional costs. The visa responds to community concerns about the limited number of Parent places in the migration program and associated lengthy waiting periods.
To be eligible for the visa, a parent must be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the sponsor, who must be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Sponsorship applications can be lodged from 17 April 2019. When a sponsor has been approved, the visa applicant will then be able to lodge their visa application. Visa applications must be lodged within six months of sponsorship approval and cannot be lodged until a sponsor has been approved.
Sponsorship and visa applications must be lodged online through ImmiAccount.
Benefits of the new pathway
The visa allows parents to remain in Australia for a longer period of time, up to five years at a time without departing. It provides an alternative option to Visitor visas which only allow shorter periods of stay. Parents are still eligible to apply for Visitor visas and/or permanent Parent visas.
While the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa allows for a significantly longer stay period than a visitor visa, it is still only a temporary visa and does not allow for permanent residence in Australia like a permanent Parent visa.
Number of places available
Up to 15,000 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas may be granted each program year (from 1 July to 30 June).
The 15,000 cap has been set by the Government in recognition of the challenges of an ageing population, as well as the overall budget impact of older migrants. The limit also reflects the Government’s priority of providing visa pathways for children and partners of Australians, as well as the need to target young skilled migrants to maximise the economic benefits of migration.
If the cap is reached in a program year, no further visas will be granted until the next program year commences on 1 July.
The visa and existing pathways
The Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa provides an additional option for parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents who wish to visit family in Australia for longer periods.
No existing visas are affected by the introduction of the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. Standard Visitor visa arrangements remain unchanged. Parents will continue to be able to apply for a longer stay and longer validity Visitor visa.
While the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa allows for a significantly longer stay period than a visitor visa, it is still only a temporary visa and does not allow for permanent residence in Australia like a permanent Parent visa. The new visa provides a pathway for existing Parent visa applicants to travel to Australia temporarily to spend time with their children and grandchildren while their permanent Parent visa application is being processed.
Potential applicants are in the best position to determine which visa is most appropriate for their own circumstances, noting that each visa has different requirements, visa application charges, conditions and stay periods.
The information below applies to sponsors of Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas, not other kinds of sponsors, such as work visa sponsors.
Only two parents per household can be sponsored for this visa at a time. The limit allows more households to sponsor a parent and reflects the potential costs a sponsor will be required to meet.
Sponsors must meet the following criteria:
- the sponsor/parent relationship requirements (ie: a parent must be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the sponsor and a step-parent can only apply if they are still in a married/de facto relationship with a biological parent of the sponsor)
- be aged at least 18 years of age
- be an Australian citizen/permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen who has been usually resident in Australia for four years
- have met any prior sponsorship obligations
- have no adverse information unless it is reasonable to disregard the information
- have no debts to the Commonwealth or public health debts unless appropriate arrangements have been made for payment
- a minimum household income threshold (based on the income of the sponsor, or the combined income of the sponsor and their spouse/partner and/or another child of the parent)
- provide police clearances for any country they have spent more than 12 months cumulatively in during the past 10 years
- authorise information to be shared with the visa applicant.
Sponsors must also agree to comply with sponsorship obligations in relation to the parent(s) they are sponsoring.
Australia’s immigration law and visa system are very complicated. Any small mistake can waste your precious time and money, and may even lead to more serious refusal consequences. If you want to know the specific requirements of this visa, or wwhether you qualify for the sponsorship, please contact our experienced immigration agent to help you.
Paul migrated to Australia in 1999 as an international student. After completing his IT degree at the Queensland University of Technology in 2003, he began his career as an education consultant, going on to become a registered migration agent in 2007. His professional experience covers a range of visa areas, including business sponsorship, skilled migration, partner, parent and student visas.