28 November 2012

Australia visa extensions for visiting parents

Parents visiting their Australian citizen or permanently resident children are to be allowed to stay longer and more often under new Australia visa guidelines announced by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen this week.

Australia visa

The new Australia visa guidelines allow visiting parents to stay for up to 12 months at a time.

Mr Bowen said the new Australia visa guidelines were intended to recognise the importance parents played in the role of their children and grandchildren in the lives of Australian citizens and permanent residents.

"[As of] November 24, more generous tourist visas will enable regular extended family visits for those patiently waiting in the queue for a parent visa," said the minister.

Although applicants will still be required to meet health and character requirements as well as prove they have access to sufficient funds to cover any healthcare costs, the new guidelines are much more flexible.

The new guidelines permit parents of citizens and permanent residents to apply for individual tourism visas catered to specific circumstances which will allow for longer visits and be valid for longer periods of time.

Mr Bowen said those applicants who had already applied for a parent visa to move to Australia to be with their children would be eligible for even longer visits than those who were yet to apply.

"Tourist visas will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will enable parents to spend more time in Australia with their families without needing to apply for a new visa each time they visit," said Mr Bowen.

"My department will consider granting five-year tourist visas with a 12 month stay on each entry to parents who are in the parent visa queue outside Australia.

"The department will also consider granting tourist visas of up to three years with a 12-month stay on each entry for parents not currently in the parent visa queue and who have complied with a previous Australian visa.

"I know many Australians are looking forward to spending a longer period of time with their parents and I am pleased the government has been able to facilitate this."

Leonie Cotton, casework department manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said the new guidelines were an extremely positive step forward for new and first generation immigrants in Australia.

"The new guidelines are great news for the thousands of British immigrants in Australia," said Ms Cotton.

"Given the distances involved and often the age of the visiting parents, trips to Australia can quickly become few and far between for many families.

"It's great to see the Australian government consider the personal influence parents and grandparents can have and cater particularly for them."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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