Note: This article has been updated as per developments dating back to a pertinent announcement made last 5 May 2017.
Because family is very important to a Filipino Christmas celebration, the holidays can be a bittersweet time for migrants celebrating it away from their parents for the first time. Sure, there are parent visa’s available for migrant families, but the current available options either take too long (try a 30-year waiting list) or are too expensive (AUD47,000 per applicant shortens the waiting time down to 2 years).
Recently, we came out with a blog article on the new parent visa that Australia’s Turnbull administration plans to turn out as a middle ground of sorts. As it’s meant to be both affordable and far less time-consuming, it’s generated a lot of speculative interest.
While we still don’t have the complete picture (the government has yet to announce the cost of the new visa, for instance), a handful of equally useful facts have come out regarding this parent visa’s requirements and benefits, such as:
1. It won’t be a permanent visa.
The new parent visa will not be connected to any permanent migration stream, but will merely provide an alternative option to parents who want to join their children in Australia for the immediate future.
They can, of course, apply for a more permanent visa later on.
2. The visa is good for up to ten years.
The new parent visa can be effective for one, three, or five years, depending on factors like the petitioning child’s ability to support their parent, the age and health of the applicant, and the length the applicant desires.
There’s also an option for a one-time visa renewal for five years after the initial visa period.
3. The new parent visa will be more affordable than the current visa options.
Visa application charges for a three-year visa amount to AUD5,000, while a five-year visa would cost AUD10,000.
The one-time visa renewal mentioned in the previous item would cost the same as a five-year visa.
4. Visa holders will not be eligible for Medicare.
Because the new visa was designed to allow migrant parents to live with their children in Australia without the associated cost of supporting the former, visa holders won’t be eligible for healthcare or welfare benefits reserved for permanent migrants.
5. Because they won’t have Medicare benefits, visa applicants will have to obtain private health insurance before arriving in Australia.
They’ll have to avail of this from Australian companies since these understand the country’s health care system best, and health screenings for the applicants will also be required.
6. There will be no financial bond required for this visa.
7. Applicants must be sponsored by their children.
To qualify as a sponsor, you must have lived in Australia for a certain number of years and have been contributing to the country financially (i.e., through gainful employment). Sponsors who wish to bring their parents to Australia via the new visa should also show proof of their capability for financial support, such as through income or asset statements.
Sponsors who have been contributing to Australia for a longer time will naturally be prioritized during the application process.
8. Visa holders cannot undertake paid work.
They are, however, allowed to assist with family childcare or unpaid volunteer activities within their communities.
The new parent visa also enables them to enroll in short-term and informal study courses, although formal and full-time courses will require a Student Visa.
9. There is no English language requirement for this visa.
Applicants need not present proof of their fluency in the language in order to qualify.
Perhaps it’s just as well, considering that this visa won’t be giving them any work rights so they won’t necessarily be in situations where they would need to communicate effectively with the locals.
10. Only one set of parents per household can be sponsored for this visa at any one time.
In other words, in case a migrant couple wishes to apply for this parent visa, they may only sponsor either their parents or their in-laws. A couple may not sponsor both sets of parents under the new parent visa at one time.
Should a couple wish to bring in another set of parents, they may look to the existing contributory or non-contributory parent visas.
The new parent visa was supposed to come out last July 2017, but certain disputes over some of its requirements have delayed its release. While there’s a lot of room for improvement,
It’s still certainly promising. Perhaps many of our Australia-based kababayans won’t have to spend Christmas so far from their parents if and when this new visa is successfully launched, no?