Family and carer visas saved from elimination after Senate motion

25 Sep 14

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Four family and carer visa categories that were eliminated earlier this year have been reinstated by a successful disallowance motion in the Senate.

What does the change mean? Foreign employees may resume lodging applications in the four non-contributory visa categories: Age Dependent Relative Visa, Remaining Relative Visa, Carer Visa and the Aged Parent Visa.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Age Dependent Relative visa, Remaining Relative visa, Carer visa and Aged Parent visa.
  • Who is affected: Citizens and permanent residents seeking to bring dependent family members to Australia.
  • Impact on processing times: The wait times for these categories remain lengthy and applicants may wait up to 25 years for the aged parent category.
  • Business impact: The categories have an indirect impact on business by providing a way for citizens and permanent residents of foreign origin to sponsor family members to live in Australia.
  • Next steps: Given the long queues, prospective applicants for family and carer visas should lodge applications as early as possible.

Background: On Thursday morning, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young brought a formal motion to block repeal of the four visa classes. Supporters of the non-contributory family visa classes argue they are necessary for family reunification, especially for low and middle-income applicants. Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Senator Michaelia Cash opposed the motion, arguing that the long waiting periods made the categories “impractical” and that keeping the categories would be a “backward step for the fairness and sustainability of the migration program.” On a full vote, the disallowance passed.

“The Senate has voted to keep families living together and looking after each other in Australia,” said Hanson-Young after the vote. “The Abbott government should never have scrapped these essential visas, which only serve to keep families together.”

Several family and carer visa categories were suddenly eliminated in June under a legislative instrument under the Migration Act 1958.

BAL Analysis: The vote is a positive development for foreign residents who relied on the family and carer visas as an affordable, albeit lengthy, avenue to reunite with their families. Applicants are urged to apply as soon as possible.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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