The Federal Parliament’s Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional Affairs has instituted a public inquiry on the efficacy, fairness, timeliness and costs of processing family and partner reunion visas for Australian residents.
The submissions are due on 30 April 2021.
Australia offers a Contributory Parent visa (Subclass 143) to the parents of the country’s citizens or permanent residents.
“This permanent visa lets a parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident of Australia or eligible New Zealand citizen move to Australia,” says the Department of Home Affairs on its website.
However, the parents-applicants have to meet stringent conditions to be able to apply for this visa. These conditions include meeting the balance-of-family test and having an Assurance of Support.
This visa costs around AUD 47,755.
The processing time for this visa is approximately 30 years.
An applicant told NRI Affairs on the condition of anonymity that processing time is the biggest hurdle.
“I think I will be dead in 30 years,” says Mrs A, who is waiting for her visa to be approved.
Providing a simpler and convenient option has been a long-standing demand of many migrants.
“The parents are getting old, and according to WHO (World Health Organisation), the life expectancy for Indians especially is short. This is a fact that scares us as our parents will have to wait for 16 to 30 years in the queue, even if they meet the Balance of Family test and the ugly truth is it is very likely that they won’t make it,” reads a now-closed petition launched two years ago.
The petition says, “We are requesting you to introduce some special kinds of visas for parents who are hoping to spend more quality time with their children and grandchildren. We want to suggest you some solutions that may interest you and help us as well.”
Senate’s Committee for Legal and Constitutional Affairs aims to study the issues related to this visa. Therefore the committee has invited individuals and organisations to send in their opinions and proposals in writing.
Multicultural Greens Victoria (MGV) has offered to help the migrants with the submission process.
Apsara Sabaratnam, Secretary – MGV, says many migrants to Australia would be familiar with how difficult, costly and time consuming this process can be.
She says the system is effectively broken and something like 200,000 Australian families are actually waiting to be reunited with their parents and loved ones.
“In many cases what we’re finding is that if you don’t have the money which is $50,000 to bring your parents across and it can take between 30 and 50 years to bring family members to Australia,” adds Ms Sabaratnam.
Multicultural Greens Victoria (MGV) has offered a helping hand to people from migrant communities who want to share their own experiences and to make recommendations that would assist with this important reform.
“What we really want is as many people as possible to make submissions and what we wanted from that perspective is the ideas and issues to be considered by the committee members,” says Ms Sabaratnam.
“MGV offers to assist in different languages if required. One-on-one Zoom or phone meetings can be booked by using this link. Or they can mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org,” adds Ms Sabaratnam.