Australia has long been known as a popular migrant destination. The climate, quality of life and opportunities turn many temporary visitors into permanent ones. Many new Australians, having established roots in the country, wish to bring aging parents from their home land to join them. Whatever the reasons for the decision, applying for a visa for older family members requires several steps.
1) Check that you are sure
You may be certain that this is the best move for your parents, but they will almost certainly have doubts. It is a big upheaval at their age to leave familiar friends and places. Have them visit you for an extended stay on a tourist visa before making any long-term decisions. It must be the right choice for all involved.
2) Check eligibility
The available visas have altered significantly since 2014. The parent visa categories were temporarily closed, but have since reopened again although still with significant waiting times. The retirement visa has now been closed. Currently, an older person wanting to come and live with their Australian child or children can only come through a parent visa and therefore must meet the 'Balance-of-Family' test. This requires that at least half of their children live permanently in Australia, or that more of their children live permanently in Australia than in any other country.
3) Check costs
The visa itself costs around $3500, but the Department of Immigration will require other financial commitments from the Australian family when their aged family member arrives to stay. For the first 2 years, the family will be required to repay the Australian Government some of the Department of Human Services social security payments. In addition, there will be no entitlement to Australian pensions for the first 10 years. The sponsoring family will have to provide evidence that they can support the living and health costs of their relative.
4) Check with a migration agent
The relevant visa classes are constantly being reviewed and altered by the Immigration Department. Hiring a migration agent will enable you to keep abreast of any developments and choose the best visa class for your family's needs. This could save you both time and money in the long run. For example, they can analyse your current family situation and help you determine the overall cost to have your parents come to Australia, when they would be eligible to arrive, and how to overcome any present obstacles that are preventing their arrival.