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Just how fair is the new 870 Visa?

The concept of parent visas has become to an extent somewhat redundant in Australian Immigration.  Broadly speaking there are two visa categories available for parents wishing to join or visit their children:

  1. Contributory Parent Visas
  2. Non-Contributory Parent Visas

Both visas carry major flaws and impracticalities.  The average wait time for non-contributory parent visa is now in excess of 30 years whereas other family visas carry a wait time of in excess of 50 years.

The contributory parent visa requires a payment of approximately $45,000 per applicant to be made payable to Home Affairs for the visa to be granted.  For two parents, the cost is in excess of $90,000.

The most significant difference between the two categories lies in the waiting periods for applications to be processed and approved. This is attributed to the fact that program caps apply to both visa categories.  The Migration Act contains provisions which allow the Minister to cap the numbers of visas that are granted in a financial year.

Section 85 of the Migration Act indicates that certain visas may be subject to capping and queuing and Parent visas are subject to Direction No. 62 which allows prioritising applications in the context of planning levels for the financial year.

The cap only ever applies to that particular year so it may change from year to year. When the numbers for the cap is reached, and no further visas are granted for the rest of the program year, applicants are placed in a queue and are allocated a place once a place becomes available.

870 Visa

The new Sponsored parent visa can be considered as a “refresher” to the redundant Australian parent visa scheme.  As with any visa, there are of course certain requirements which must be met in order for the visa to be granted.

The temporary sponsored parent visa is designed to allow the parents of Australians to spend longer periods of time with their children in Australia without placing additional burden on Australia's health care system. The introduction of the temporary sponsored parent visa finally passed the Senate on and introduced Migration Amendment (Family Violence and other Measures) Bill 2016 (the Bill) through Parliament.  Applications to sponsor a parent for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa are 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 will open from 1 July 2019.

To be approved as a sponsor, the applicant must demonstrate that they meet the following:

  • be a biological, adoptive, or a step-child of their parent
  • be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • be 18 years or older
  • have lived in Australia for at least four years
  • meet a household income requirement of $83,454.80.
  • accept legal liability for any outstanding public health debt their sponsored parent accrues.

Whilst some concerns has been expressed regarding the household income requirement, certain measures need to be put in place to ensure that the new program works and does not fall into the trap of becoming redundant alongside other parent visa options currently available.  It should also be noted that household income may be split between the main applicant and their spouse.

There are 15,000 places available per year which is a significant increase by comparison to places available under the non-contributory parent visa scheme.

Parents cannot perform paid work whilst they are in Australia, nevertheless, they are able to reside in Australia for a total period of ten years.  This may be a better alternative to having constantly apply for a visitor visa or wait off-shore for the grant of a parent visa (contributory or non-contributory).

The concept of fairness is subjective therefore it is difficult to assess just how fair the new 870 visa is in comparison to other visa options available for parents.  Nevertheless, one should also look at the practicality of the new 870 visa, this visa is expected to be processed in a shorter period by comparison to non-contributory parent visas, they are less expensive than contributory parent visas and less cumbersome than repeat visitor visas.  From a practical point of view, subclass 870 visa is a step in the right direction for family streamed visas.



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  • Guest
    Colin Maier Wednesday, 01 May 2019

    "...Parent visas are subject to Direction No. 62 which allows prioritising applications in the context of planning levels for the financial year."

    FYI for anyone looking this up. MD62 was placed by MD72 in 2016, which was in turn replaced MD80 in 2018 - MD80 is the active direction regarding the order for considering and disposing of Family visa application.

  • Guest
    Guest Wednesday, 01 May 2019

    I personally think they should increase the number of contributory places and speed up processing.
    The costs involved seem prohibitive but seriously, paying $90K for a couple over 60 to buy their way into Australia's medical/social welfare benefits is cheap at half the price considering they have not paid any tax.

  • Guest
    David Wednesday, 01 May 2019

    If my parents have another child (10 years of age) still living with them overseas, can the child (my little brother) accompany the parents to Australia on the 870 visa? If not, who is going to look after my little brother if my parents come here and stay with me for 5 years?

    Thank you.

  • Guest
    Paul O Friday, 03 May 2019

    If the Government truly wants to reduce the high medical cost for parents who migrate why not make a visa available to parents to visit and remain for 5 years with renewal every 5 years.
    They must have their own health cover as a condition so there would be no issues.

    The limitations are ridiculous on Parent visas and this option would remove much cost from medicare

  • Guest
    David Jenkins Friday, 08 November 2019

    My wife and I were granted the 870 visa in September. We were so pleased and returned to be with our family and lived with them until recently. As one can imagine it is not healthy to live permanently with 3 grandchildren, our son, his wife, they need their own space. We wanted to purchase a house close to them but 870 holders although on a long term sponsored visitor visa are still classed as overseas property investors. In our situation this is not the case, all we want is to buy a house close to them without paying $5000 to be granted permission from the FIRB coupled with an extra 7% in stamp duty. We fully understand the conditions of this visa and appreciate that after 5 or 10 years we have to return to the U.K. as permanent residency unfortunately is not an option for us.

    We feel with this visa that holders should be able to purchase a house to live in without paying these extra costs. This visa has already cost over $20,000 coupled with private health care cover and in 2024 another $20,0000 if we are granted a second 5 year term.

    The introduction of this visa has allowed us to be with our son and his family during the children’s formative years which we are so grateful for. Renting will cost us in the region of $400,000 over a 10 year period, this money would be better used towards the purchase of a house.

    Are their people out there who share similar views?

  • Guest
    Paul O Friday, 08 November 2019

    Buy the property in your son's name

  • Guest
    Paul O Friday, 08 November 2019

    The 870 is an income generator. It's purpose is to allow parents to stay in Australia for 3-5 years and max 10 years with massive expense and no entitlements.
    During this time while they hold he 870 they are restricted from applying for Parent visa options.
    If it was not a money raising venture there would be no restrictions

    Recent parent Visitor Visa applications are being refused for ridiculous reasons forcing applicants to look to the expensive 870 visa.
    There is no justification for the restriction.
    Why not allow the applicants to hold an 870 and apply for a parent visa at the same time? Not allowing this forces them to wait another 4 years of more for the contributory Parent Visa after the last 870 expires, spending in excess of $40-50,000 on the applications and associated costs and have possible health issues when the time comes to apply for the Parent visa.
    It further delays eligibility for Social Security.

    Much better to apply for the Contributory Parent visa first, then a 3 year visitor visa with max stay 12 months then another if needed.
    The 3 year visa will allow almost 4 years if arriving in the last month pre last date to arrive.

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Guest Monday, 19 April 2021
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