The federal government has announced to impose a more substantial visa fee on migrant families wanting to bring their elderly parents to Australia so that it reflects the subsequent drain on resources.
New visa for migrant parents will allow them to stay for up to ten years in Australia, but are barred from settling in the country and need to pay $20,000. Their children are required to pay for their private health cover as the government seeks to tighten its budget.
Malcolm Turnbull government pledged the parent visas on the eve of the 2016 campaign. Now, at least 15,000 people every year would be able to bring their parents to the country for up to a decade following the immigration shakeup. The new visa is expected to be officially announced by the government next week, along with the Budget.
In an exclusive interview with the news outlet, assistant immigration minister Alex Hawke explains that health care costs results to a great expense to the taxpayers.
“That’s the problem that governments around the world have been wrestling with,” he adds.
Last year, the government publicised a discussion paper that laid out the terms of the parent visa. Alex Hawke, at that time, said the program would be effective by July 2017. People who want to bring their parents to Australia must be Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens.
3-year-visa will cost $5000, a 5-year-visa will cost $10,000 and a 10-year-visa will cost $20,000, with the opportunity of a single renewal for another five years at the same price.
Immigration minister Peter Dutton previously said the government aimed to help reunite families without an added cost to the health system. At the same time of the election announcement, he stated that the Coalition acknowledged that several Australians, which include the increasing South Asian and Chinese communities, were dealing with pressures caused by parting of children from parents, as well as grandchildren from grandparents. Under the new visa, Hawke says grandparents will be able to take care of their grandchildren while parents are at work.
But experts see some issues with the parent’s visa program. Henry Sherrell, an Australian National University migration expert, says the amount needed to bring parents is a concern and that the recently announced plan has no alleyway to permanent residency for the parents.
“There are some things to be concerned about. The costs look extremely high for a temporary visa,” he said.
Sherrell added that while other temporary visas needed a private health insurance, this one was different. He said this was one of the first instances where temporary migrants will be liable for public health cover in the country.
Members of Indian community in Australia who campaigned for the Long Stay Visa for Parents before federal elections have voiced their disappointment with the new parent visa.