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 five 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.
3. The new parent visa will be more affordable than the current visa options.
No word yet on the exact amount required, however.
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 an Australian company since these understand the country’s health care system best, and health screenings for the applicants will also be required.
A bond may be required to avail of the visa. This is in addition to the sponsorship fees. Such would be drawn upon in any of the following cases:
a.) To recoup costs in case the sponsor reneges on their financial obligations;
b.) If healthcare costs for the visa holder become an issue;
c.) If the visa holder is subjected to family violence.
Whether the bond is meant to be paid lump sum or in installments is yet to be determined.
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. Whether work rights will be granted to visa holders or not remains in question.
For now, there are deliberations about whether there are circumstances where visa holders would need to work and what these would be, if ever.
9. A fair grasp of the English language may be a requirement for successful application.
After all, being able to speak the country’s dominant language would make it easier for visa holders to integrate themselves into local communities and avail of local services independently.
10. There may be no quota for the number of new parent visas issued every year.
About 8,000 of the old parent visas are available annually, but the demand is exponentially higher than that. Thus, the discussion paper on the new parent visa also deliberates on whether there should be limits for the number of new parent visas issued every year.
The new parent visa isn’t due to come out until July of next year, but considering what we know so far, it’s 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?