Changes in migration patterns are seeing an increase in the number of skilled professionals migrating to Australia and then exploring the options available to get their parents to join them.
While current COVID-19 restrictions have put many migration plans on hold, the broader trends look likely to continue when pandemic conditions ease.
Regardless, recent directions in migration are a far cry from how things used to be when one parent would often establish themselves in the country and their partner and children would subsequently join them.
Snedden Hall & Gallop lawyer and migration agent Dominic Cookman says that in the 21st century, there are multiple generations within families who have all settled in Australia.
“We are now increasingly seeing more skilled professionals migrating to Australia in the prime of their working lives, who subsequently want their parents to come and live permanently here with them,” he says.
“A stable and a prosperous country, Australia provides them with a good choice to retire here and spend time with their children and grandchildren.”
Reflecting on Australia’s skilled migration program, Dominic says it gives more preference to people up to 45 years of age. If you exceed that age limit, despite being highly skilled, it becomes difficult to migrate to Australia.
There are a few challenges that an applicant can face while applying for a parent visa.
“Parents have to meet the balance-of-family test, which is one of the requirements,” says Dominic. “It refers to the parents having equal or more number of children living in Australia than in any other country.
“So if you come from a big family and have lots of siblings overseas, there is not much opportunity to sponsor your parents to come to Australia.”
Also, there are two streams of parent visas: contributor and non-contributory parent visa. By being a contributor, a substantial fee of $50,000 is required to sponsor your parents to come and settle in Australia. That visa typically takes two to three years to process.
The parent visa doesn’t have the $50,000 fee attached to it, but the wait time is between 10 and 30 years.
There is another type of visa which allows the parent to come on a two-year temporary parent visa, and they can later apply for a permanent visa. It costs $20,000 initially and a similar amount at a later point.
“It’s just a way of staggering the cost and is an alternative to the $50,000 fee, which is a part of the honorary parent visa,” says Dominic.
He advises people who want their parents to come to Australia to be prepared for the high cost.
“There is not much alternative to waiting time,” says Dominic. “Even though the fees are high, people find that often the rewards of the process are worth it.
“Like any other visa application, it involves a lot of paperwork. Make sure you prepare your documents in advance.”
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