27th April 2018
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Changes to non-contributory parent and other family visas

Evolution of Australian Parent Visa Options to Contributory Parent Category Visas


Federal government repeals eight family visa subclasses. There are still options available to eligible parents and their sponsors under the Contributory Parent Visa Category. Applicants can apply directly for permanent residency or opt for a 2-stage, 2-visa pathway to permanent residence.

Stop press:

In October 2014 the Senate disallowed this change. This means that these eight subclasses of visa are available again, although probably only for a short time. 

See our recent blog post for an important update on the return of the abolished Parent visas

The Abbott government has changed the rules around family visas for immigration to Australia. On 2 June 2014 it repealed the following eight subclasses of family visa:

Parent (Migrant) (Class AX):

  • Parent (subclass 103)

Aged Parent (Residence) (Class BP):

  • Aged Parent (subclass 804)

Other Family (Migrant) (Class BO):

  • Remaining Relative (subclass 115)
  • Aged Dependent Relative (subclass 114)
  • Carer (subclass 116)

Other Family (Residence) (Class BU):

  • Remaining Relative (subclass 835)
  • Aged Dependent Relative (subclass 838)
  • Carer (subclass 836)

The government had foreshadowed its plans to cease these Other Family and Non-contributory Parent visa classes as part of its Federal Budget 2014–15 announcements. The government wishes to focus family migration on the reunion of close family members (the partners, children and contributory parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents).

Some of the discontinued visa categories involved excessively long waiting times. For example, a Non-contributory Parent visa application could take 13 years to be considered, after being allocated a queue date. Waiting times for some Other Family visas ranged from four to 16 years.

Options for family migration post 2 June 2014 changes - Contributory Parent Categories

Parents of an Australian citizen or permanent resident wishing to migrate to Australia can still apply for a Contributory Parent visa. However, these require a much greater financial contribution towards future health, welfare and other costs in Australia. There are two options: 

One step:  apply directly for a permanent Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143).

Two steps / two visa process: apply firstly for a Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173). This is valid for up to two years, during which time you can apply for a permanent visa (subclass 143). This second option allows you to stagger the costs, which are high.

Costs of applying for a Contributory Parent Visa 

You must pay the first visa application charge when you lodge your application. You will usually not get a refund if your application is unsuccessful.

When applying for a Parent Visa from overseas, the costs involved (as at the time of writing this post) are set out below.

IMPORTANT: Visa application charges are periodically adjusted by the Department of Immigration and can vary depending on your particular circumstances. Intending visa applicants should always check the Department's schedule of fees and charges prior to lodging an application.

One step:

The cost of applying directly for a permanent Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143) is:

  • 1st Visa Application Charge (VAC) - $3,520.00
  • Additional applicants over 18 years (per applicant) -  $1,185.00
  • Additional applicants under 18 years (per applicant) - $595.00
  • 2nd Visa Application Charge (VAC) - $43,600.00 (per applicant)
  • AoS Bond: $10,000.00, plus (if applicable), plus $4,000.00 per additional applicant

Two steps:

The costs of applying for a temporary contributory parent visa (subclass 173) followed by a permanent contributory parent  visa (subclass 143) is:

Stage 1: Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173) - 2 years

  • 1st Visa Application Charge (VAC) - $2,370.00
  • Additional applicants over 18 years (per applicant) - $1,185.00
  • Additional applicants under 18 years (per applicant) - $595.00
  • 2nd Visa Application Charge (VAC) $29,130.00 (per applicant)

Stage 2: Permanent Visa (143) - within 2 years while 173 visa still valid

  • 1st Visa Application Charge (VAC) - $325.00
  • Additional applicants over 18 years (per applicant) - $165.00
  • Additional applicants under 18 years (per applicant) - $80.00
  • 2nd Visa Application Charge (VAC) $19,420.00 (per applicant) 
  • AoS Bond: $10,000.00, plus (if applicable) $4,000.00 per additional applicant

You must pay a second visa application charge at the time you are granted your visa. This can happen only after you have met all other legal requirements. 

Whether you apply in one or two steps, you must pay an AoS (Assurance of Support) bond when you are granted your permanent visa. The government holds this bond for 10 years, even after you have become an Australian citizen.

For details of costs see the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Requirements for applicants

All applicants for these Contributory Parent visas must:

  • complete and lodge the correct application forms, and pay the applicable VACs (visa application charges)
  • have a child or step-child who is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen in Australia
  • be sponsored by that child or the child’s partner (or by another eligible sponsor if your child is under 18)
  • satisfy the Balance of Family test
  • be of good character
  • meet health requirements
  • provide an acceptable AoS (assurance of support bond)
  • pay the relevant VAC(s).

Requirements for sponsors

All applicants for prospective parent visas must be sponsored. Your sponsor undertakes to support you during your first two years in Australia on your new visa. 

In most cases, a sponsor must be:

  • your child or step-child, or their cohabiting partner (or another eligible person if your child or step-child is under 18)
  • a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

Other visa options 

Parents and other relatives of Australian citizens and permanent residents can apply for a Visitor visa. Some provide for a stay of up to 12 months.

What if I’ve already lodged an application?

Certain categories of applications lodged before 2 June will be processed.

Contact immigration law specialists Haag Walker for guidance.

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