Changes to family stream migration visas

Publish Date: Jul 16, 2014

Many Australian visas are based on family relationships. Family stream migration, where visas are granted on the basis that the applicant is a partner, child or parent of the sponsor, make up a large percentage of Australian immigration approvals every year.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection set the 2014-15 migration planning level at 190,000 places. Family stream migration has been allocated nearly a third of these visas (32 per cent) - this is equal to a total of 60,885 visas.

There were 60,885 family stream migration visas granted in the 2013-14 period. The breakdown was 47,525 partner visas, 8,925 parent visas, 3,850 child visas, and 585 other family visas. 

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection recently repealed a number of visas subclasses, with no new applications accepted from June 2 2014. These include:

  • Parent visa (subclass 103)
  • Aged parent visa (subclass 804)

Other Family visas were repealed as of June 2 2014, specifically: 

  • Remaining Relative Visa (subclass 835 and subclass 115),
  • Aged Dependent Relative Visa (subclass 838 and subclass 114),
  • Carer visa (subclass 836 and subclass 116)

It is important to understand who is eligible for family stream migrant visas and what your expectations as a sponsor may be. 

Applying for a partner visa

There are two categories for partner visas: partner visa and prospective marriage visa. An Australian partner can apply for a partner visa for an applicant who is their spouse or de facto partner. The prospective marriage visa is available to individuals who plan to marry their sponsor after travelling to Australia. There are a number of conditions that a prospective marriage applicant must meet, including being aged at least 18 years, and being able to enter into a marriage that is valid in Australia.

Applying for a child visa

If the child is in Australia there are three types of visa a parent, step parent or legal guardian can apply for on behalf of the child. The visas grant either permanent or temporary residency for the child depending on the visa type.

If the child is outside Australia there are four child visa options that grant either permanent or temporary residency for the child.

Applying for a parent visa 

An Australian sponsor's parents may be eligible for a permanent contributory parent visa - either a parent visa (subclass 143) if they are located outside Australia, or an aged parent visa (subclass 864) if they are located in Australia. These visas carry higher application charges than the now-repealed subclass 103 and subclass 804 visas, as well as assurance of a support bond.


A sponsor can be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. Generally, a sponsor must be at least 18 years old. 

Skilled stream migrants do not need to need to take tests for their skills or language ability. However, they must fulfill health and character requirements. 

If you are interested in family stream migration and would like to learn more contact an immigration lawyer to discuss your case. 

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