As part of its election commitment, the Turnbull Coalition Government announced last Friday, 23 September, that it will roll out a new temporary sponsored parent visa. The new visa will permit parents to be sponsored by Australians and have them stay for five years. It will be rolled out in July 2017.
The plan was made on the heels of the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to either abolish the permanent visa for migrants’ parents or have the fee increased tremendously. Currently, temporary visa for parents only allow them to stay in the country for two years.
With the new plan, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke issued a succession of community consultations and encouraged public submissions to aid the Government in coming up with the final design of the new temporary visa and the legislative adjustments required to implement it.
Hawke emphasized that the Turnbull Government “recognises that many Australian migrant communities face particular pressures through the separation of children from parents and grandchildren from grandparents.”
He also said that they aim to provide better channels for families to “reunite and spend time together” while guaranteeing that it must be achieved in a way that does not place strain on Australia's health care system.
"Improving arrangements for parents of Australians to spend time with their family in Australia, whilst mitigating costs to the Australian taxpayer was a key objective of both major parties at the recent election. It is now important we get this balance right in the design of the temporary sponsored parent visa," he added.
As part of this, one of the conditions being planned to impose for the visa grant is for the aged parents to obtain private health insurance and financial guarantee from their children in Australia. "If we are to have more aged parents who have come from overseas here with us visiting or staying, we have to ensure that our already overburdened health system is protected from extra cost," Hawke said.
Right now, there is an option available in place for parents to get a permanent visa. However, it has a waiting time of up to 30 years. While this can be expedited, it requires higher visa application charges for faster processing. The new option, on the other hand, will require only two years. And will be accessible to parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens once rolled out.