Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says visa relaxations recognise the important influence parents and grandparents can hold.
05 September 2012
Australia visa rules relaxed for visiting parents and grandparents
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has confirmed that Australia visa allowances for the parents and grandparents of Australian citizens and permanent residents would be relaxed to allow for extended visits.
Mr Bowen said the new Australia visa rules, which are expected to be in place by the end of the year, would allow parents and grandparents to visit their Australian citizen or permanent resident relations for up to 12 months.
"The government will grant five year tourist visas with a 12 month stay on each entry to suitable applicants who have applied for a parent visa outside Australia," said Minister Bowen.
"To be granted a tourist visa, applicants must meet Australia's health and character requirements, have access to adequate funds, have health insurance to cover any healthcare costs during their stay, and intend a genuine visit to Australia."
Parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents can apply for a parent visa which allows them to live and work in Australia as well as be eligible for certain state benefits such as Medicare.
However, Minister Bowen says the process can often be lengthy and the new tourist visa, while not granting all the same freedoms, such as the ability to work, it can be used as a suitable temporary measure.
"Tourist visa grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will enable parents to spend more time in Australia with their families while they wait for a parent visa."
The minister said the changes would allow a greater level of interaction between families separated by country.
"I know that many people are patiently waiting in the queue for a parent visa so we want to provide more generous tourist visas to enable regular extended family visits," said the minister.
"These changes recognise the valuable role parents play in assisting their children and grandchildren and the social benefits such visits provide."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.