Family Migration

There are visa options for other family members to migrate to Australia – these include remaining relatives, aged dependent relatives and carers of Australian citizens, permanent residents of Australia or eligible New Zealand citizens.
Applicants have to satisfy the basic requirements in order to apply for Family Migration visas.

Child Visa

This is a permanent visa that allows a child to travel to an remain in Australia with their parent/s. Basic Requirement:

  • Applicants can be up to 25 years of age
  • A child less than 18 years of age is automatically deemed to be ‘dependent’ on the parent
  • Applicants between 18-25 years of age need to show that they are financially dependent on their sponsoring parent and that they are studying full-time

This visa requires the child to be sponsored by a parent who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. Please note: If one of the parents was an Australian Citizen at the time of their child’s birth, then the child may be eligible for Citizenship by Descent. If a child is born in Australia and at least one parent is a permanent resident or Citizen at the time of birth, the child is automatically an Australian Citizen.

Last Remaining Relative Visa

This visa is for people who wish to migrate to Australia whose only immediate family are all living in Australia and are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens. This visa requires you to be sponsored by an eligible relative (or your relative’s eligible partner), in Australia. Basic Requirement This visa may be a suitable option for you if:

  • You have a brother, sister, or parent who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia
  • You and your partner have no brothers, sisters, non-dependent children, parents (or step-equivalents) other than those in Australia

Dependent children are not counted as ‘relatives outside Australia’ and may be included in your application. If you partner/spouse has any immediate family living outside Australia, you are not eligible for this visa. You will also be required to obtain an Assurance of Support.

Parent Migration

The Parent visa is for parents who wish to migrate to Australia to be with their children. The application must be sponsored by one of their children and the child must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is settled in Australia. To be deemed ‘settled’ an Australian permanent resident must have been residing in Australia for at least 2 years prior to lodgement of the Parent visa application. An Australian citizen must have been residing in Australia for at least 3 months prior to lodgement.

Basic Requirement

To be eligible to apply for any of the parent visas the applicants must meet what is called the ‘Balance of Family’ (BOF) test. This means the applicants must have:

  • at least half of their children living in Australia as permanent residents or Australian Citizens, or
  • more children living in Australia as permanent residents or Australian Citizens than in any other single country overseas

Children of both parents are counted in the test, including any children of previous relationships of either parent.

Parents may apply for an Aged Parent visa in Australia (onshore) only if one parent is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension. This is 64.5 years of age for women (depending on date of birth) and 65 for men. If neither parent is old enough, the application must be lodged offshore.

All applicants applying for parent visas require an Assurance of Support (AoS). An AoS is a legal commitment by the assurer to repay the Commonwealth of Australia any benefits paid to those applicants covered by the assurance. This is for a set period after the applicants migrate from overseas or are granted permanent residence in Australia. However, an AoS bond is only payable for adult applicants.

There is also a second Visa Application Charge (VAC) payable for all Parent visa applications. This is in addition to the initial lodgement fee and is paid before grant of a visa.

The Parent visa classes are subject to capping, which means that a limited number of them can be approved per financial year.  Once all the legal requirements for the grant of a Parent visa are met, if there are no places available for grant then applications are placed in a queue.

There are two different pathways for parent migration. The “slow, cheap” visa and the “fast, expensive” one.

Standard Parent Visa Category

Currently, applications for a Standard Parent visa take around 25-30 years to process from lodgement to queue entry to reaching the top of the queue to decision.

While waiting for an Offshore Parent visa to be processed, the parents can apply for a Visitor visa to visit their children in Australia.

Only onshore applicants are given a Bridging Visa to remain in Australia during processing. Onshore Parent Visa applicants are not eligible for Medicare until grant of the visa (unless reciprocal arrangements apply).

Contributory Parent Visa Category

The Contributory Parent visa category has the additional advantage of the ability to apply for a temporary visa first, helping to ‘split up’ the significant second Visa Application Charge (VAC) fees.

  • Contributory parent category have significantly shorter waiting periods for applications to be finalised
  • This visa are accorded a higher priority for processing
  • Need to pay a substantially higher second instalment of the visa application charge (per person) and a larger assurance of support (AoS) bond (with a longer AoS period).

During the two year period on the temporary visa, parents may apply at any time for their permanent visa at which time the balance of the VAC payment would need to be paid.

The Assurance of Support bond must be paid before approval of the PERMANENT visa application. This means that if you apply for the temporary visa first you will have more time before you have to pay the bond.

Currently, the applications for a Contributory Parent visa take around 18 to 20 months to process from lodgement to decision (depending on onshore or offshore lodgement).

Partner Visa

If you are in a relationship with an Australian Citizen or Australian Permanent Resident, or Eligible New Zealand Citizen then you can consider applying for a Partner (a.k.a. Spouse) Visa.

To be eligible to apply for a Partner Visa the applicant must be able to prove one of the following;

1.) They are legally married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen – Partner (Marriage) Visa

2.) They have been in a de facto relationship (living together like a married couple) with an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, for a period of at least 12 months immediately preceding lodgement of the application (unless they have entered in to a formal Civil Union as recognised in Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria or Tasmania only) – Partner (De Facto) Visa

3.) They are formally engaged to be married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, have personally met and are free to marry that person – Fiancé Visa

Basic Requirement

Most Partner applications work in two stages and unless you have been in a ‘long-standing relationship’ as defined by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP); the initial visa granted is a temporary visa only.

This means that most Partner Visa holders are temporary residents for two years, and then go through second stage processing which is when the permanent visa is granted. The two step process is DIBP’s way of safeguarding against people who are not genuine and you should also be aware that if the relationship breaks down before the two years is up the permanent application may not be approved unless certain circumstances apply.

Fiancé Visas go through a three step process – the first part is lodged offshore and once granted the applicant has around nine months to enter Australia, marry their sponsor and lodge the Partner (Marriage) visa.

All partner applications are judged on the genuineness of the relationship and you will need to be able to provide documents to show that you are in a long term, committed relationship with each other.

The 12 month requirement for De Facto visas can be waived if you can provide evidence that your relationship has been formally registered as a ‘Civil Union’ or ‘Registered Relationship’ in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory. Please refer to your local Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for further information.

Applicants who lodge on the basis of a Civil Union relationship or Marriage would ideally need to show at least six months of a committed relationship, including evidence of a joint household. Fiancé visa applicants are not required to show that they have been living together, but must be able to show that they have personally met or seen each other since they turned 18, and that there is at least six months of a committed relationship.

If you have only been in a relationship for a short time, then any application you lodge will most likely be rejected.

Partner visa applications can be lodged in Australia or overseas. The Fiancé visa must be lodged overseas at the Embassy responsible for the applicant’s usual country of residence.

New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship Visa

Non-eligible New Zealand Citizens who hold a Subclass 444 Special Category visa (automatically gained upon entry to Australia) can sponsor members of their family unit to live with them in Australia via the New Zealand Family Relationship visa.

This is a temporary residence visa, granted for periods of up to 5 years. It cannot convert to permanent residency at any stage, but can be renewed.

This visa also requires documents to evidence your relationship, but has a lower requirement of 6 months living together for applications on the basis of a defacto relationship.