Publish Date: Oct 09, 2014
One of the hardest parts of migrating to Australia is navigating the range of different visa categories that individuals can enter under. In fact, these different processes are one of the main reasons that individuals will get in contact with a migration lawyer in the first place.
Fortunately, choosing the right category has become a lot easier in Australia in recent weeks, with the reopening of a number of visa categories.
From 25 September 2014, five visa subclasses have been reopened, after having been closed earlier in the year. The five subclasses are: Parent (subclass 103), Aged Parent (subclass 804), Aged Dependent Relative (subclasses 114 and 838), Remaining Relative (subclasses 115 and 835) and Carer (subclasses 116 and 836).
These visa subclasses were closed back in June 2014, having been repealed by a regulation which was then subsequently disallowed on 25 September 2014, hence the reopening of these visa subclasses to applicants.
Anyone who applied for one of these visas before 2 June 2014 will still have their applications processed. However, any applications that were made between 2 June 2014 and 25 September 2014 will remain invalid and new applications will need to be lodged.
While the reopening of these visa subclasses represent more options for those with family members who want to join them in Australia, there are still long waiting times for these visa places.
Based on current planning levels, the waiting time for a Parent (non-contributory) visa application is currently approximately 30 years, with 1,500 places provided in the 2014-15 Migration Programme year for Parent (subclass 103) and Aged Parent (subclass 804) visas.
The waiting list is even longer for Remaining Relative or Aged Dependent Relative visa applications, which have a waiting list of approximately 56 years for applications lodged in 2014.
An applicant for a Parent visa must satisfy the Balance of Family (BoF) test at the time the application for the visa is made. The BoF test compares the number of children an applicant has who are resident in Australia or Australian citizens ("eligible children") against the number of children the applicant has who are resident overseas ("ineligible children").
In order for an applicant to pass the BoF test, either the number of eligible children is greater than or equal to the number of ineligible children, or the number of eligible children is greater than the greatest number of ineligible children usually resident in a particular overseas country. Other considerations may be taken into account in assessing an applicant's satisfaction of the BoF test.
If you or one of your relatives are looking to migrate to Australia on one of these reopened visa categories, it is important to consult with a migration lawyer beforehand. They will be able to advise on the best ways to proceed with your application, as well as any accompanying processes like the BoF test.