27 June 2003

New Parent Visa arrangements commence

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New parent visa arrangements come into operation this week, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Philip Ruddock announced today.

'The new arrangements provide for a fairer sharing of the costs associated with parent migration between the Australian taxpayer and parent migrants and their sponsors,' the Minister said.

'They also provide increased opportunities for other parent visa applicants who are unable to afford higher charges to progress through the queue more quickly.'

With the introduction of the new arrangements, there will be a total of 7,000 places available in 2003-04 for parents to be re-united with their families in Australia.

'I am delighted that the Government is now able to offer a significant increase in parent migration places over the 500 places currently available and I anticipate a high take-up rate by parents for the new contributory parent visas,' Mr Ruddock said.

Applicants for the new contributory parent visa must still meet the same basic parent visa requirements. In addition, they will pay a health charge of $25,000 per adult to apply directly for a permanent visa.

Alternatively, applicants can choose to spread the payments by initially paying a $15,000 first instalment for a two-year temporary visa with access to Medicare and full work rights.

At any time during the two year period, applicants can apply for a permanent visa by paying the remaining $10,000 health charge. Immediately prior to grant of the permanent visa, applicants will also have to lodge a $10,000 Assurance of Support ($14,000 per couple) to help cover any social security costs in the first 10 years of residence.

People who have already made an application for a parent visa have been advised in writing about the new contributory parent visa.

'My Department has conducted a number of information sessions to ensure that community groups understand the new parent visa arrangements.

'A large number of parents have expressed interest in applying for the new contributory parent visa,' Mr Ruddock said.

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