Parent Visa Changes Add Pressure For Sponsors

14:17' 03-05-2018
The Australian Government has increased the required salary for sponsors of parent visas by more than double, by making a change to visa regulations, without needing to pass a bill through Parliament.



    Anyone who wants to sponsor their two parents now needs an annual income of $86,607, up from $35,793, while a couple needs a combined income of $115,476. A single person sponsoring just one parent needs an income of $57,738.


    There is a long waiting list for these visas, estimated to be about 30,000, while the cap on parent visa places this year is just under 9,000.

    For the most commonly granted parent visa (contributory 143), the wait is around two or three years. For the more restrictive non-contributory parent visa (103), the waiting time is up to 30 years.

    Cases are vetted by The Department of Home Affairs, formerly known as the Immigration Department.

    Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said the changes “will not be applied retrospectively”, and Assurance of Support (AOS) forms lodged with Centrelink before 1 April will be assessed under the old rules. Those who have been in the queue for years, and who have not yet had to submit their AOS paperwork, will need to meet the new standards.

    The AOS is one of the last steps in applying for a visa. It requires the sponsor to show they have a high enough income, put down a large bank deposit, and guarantee they will pay for any social security their parents need during their first 10 years in Australia. Parent visas also require upfront fees of nearly $4,000, which are not refunded if the visa is refused.

    The AOS rules also ban anyone with a debt to the Commonwealth, like a HECS student debt or a Centrelink debt, from sponsoring a visa.

    Sponsors can combine incomes to meet the requirement, but only with up to three people, but the total sum required increases for each sponsor, to make sure they can support themselves.

    The effect is felt most strongly in the Chinese community, where more than 11,000 family visas were granted in 2015, compared with around 6,000 for India.

    The Greens oppose the change, and will launch a disallowance motion in the Senate, urging Labor and the crossbench to join.

    Mr Tehan said the government was updating the rules to make sure migrant parents did not become a drain on the welfare system.

    Park W




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