Parent Visa Processing Update

mother and daughter sitting on a bench

Written by Julie Williams | MARN 9903637 | Published 30 November 2023

Permanent Parent and Contributory Parent visa applications are subject to capping and queuing under the Migration Program set by the Government each year.

In relation to the function of the Parent and Contributory Parent visa ‘queue’, here are some key points below that will assist in understanding the lengthy processing time frames of parent applications.

– Section 85 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) allows the Minister to determine the maximum number of visas that may be granted in a program year in certain visa classes.

Once the cap has been reached in a program year, no further grants are possible until the following program year. Visa applications that have not been granted are ‘queued’ for further processing in a later program year.

– Capping is used to ensure that the planning levels decided by the Australian Government for each Migration Program Year are not exceeded.  Queuing assists in the efficient and orderly management of visas subject to a cap and ensures that unmeritorious applications are refused at an early stage in the visa application process.

– On 1 June 2018, the Australian Government determined that capping and queuing arrangements will also apply to all Contributory Parent visas:

  • Contributory Parent (subclass 143) visas
  • Contributory Aged Parent (subclass 864) visas
  • Contributory Parent (Temporary) (subclass 173) visas
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) (subclass 884) visas

Prior to this, non-Contributory Parent visas were already subject to capping and queuing.

All Contributory Parent visa applications lodged prior to 1 June 2018 are assigned a queue date that is equal to the application lodgement date.

– All Contributory Parent visa applications lodged on or after 1 June 2018 are assessed (in lodgement date order) against the relevant requirements of the visa and assigned a queue date when the application meets those requirements (including meeting the health criteria). When assigned a queue date, the Department notifies the applicant. If the application does not meet the requirements, the application will be refused.

– When a queue date has been assigned, it is fixed and applications then proceed to finalisation in strict queue date order.  Applications are released from the queue for final assessment in order of queue date.  An applicant’s release from the queue is however subject to:

  • changes to planning levels
  • changes in demand for a particular visa
  • fluctuations due to visa grants, refusals and withdrawals
  • fluctuations due to successful review cases which are given priority

In the October 2022 Budget, the Government announced an increase in the migration planning level for Parent visas from 4,500 places in 2021-22 to 8,500 in 2022-23. In 2022-23 the split was 1,700 Parent and 6,800 Contributory Parent visas.

Migration planning levels for Parent visas remain at 8,500 places in 2023-24. The split between Parent and Contributory Parent has not yet been determined.

The demand for Parent visas is greater than the number of places available each year and the Australian Department of Home Affairs continues to see strong lodgements. The last three years of lodgements are:

  • 2020-21 – 14,827
  • 2021-22 – 17,606
  • 2022-23 – 26,433

Below is the current data for the different Parent visa queues as at 31 August 2023:

PRODUCT ONHAND
Parent and Aged Parent (103 and 804) 51,721
Contributory Parent and Aged Contributory Parent (143, 173, 864, 884) 90,982

Be aware that the ‘queuing’ is not finalising your application but simply requesting your medical examination and police clearances to assess your eligibility against health and character, to then allow you to progress to the ‘queue’. It is anticipated that all applicants who have a queue date for the Contributory Parent visa will have a further 18-24 month wait before a Case Officer is allocated to assess your application for finalisation and grant.

In March this year, the report into the Review of the Migration System was provided to Government for consideration. It included information about family migration and in particular the Parent visa program.

Although the review included information about possible reform options, there has been no further information on what they may be at this stage.

On 27 April 2023, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Claire O’Neil MP, released an outline of the Government’s proposed migration strategy ‘A Migration System for a More Prosperous and Secure Australia.’ The Strategy maps the Government’s approach for a better targeted, more efficient, and outcomes-focused migration system, and notes the need for a reform of the Family program. The Migration Strategy is being developed and will be released at a later date.

If you are eligible now for a parent visa application, I would not delay in lodging an application as future changes may mean that you are no longer eligible. Any future changes won’t affect already lodged applications.

Want to learn more about Parent Visas? Join us for a Free Webinar on Parent Visas on Thursday 14th December 2023 at 4.00pm AEST.
Register your spot today!

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