Australia relaxes tourist visa rules for parents of citizens and residents

05 September 2012

Chris Bowen MP, the Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, today announced a change to the rules that will enable the parents of naturalized Australian citizens and permanent residents to obtain a 5 year tourist visa. Parents who are waiting for a parent visa, for which there is a long waiting list can apply. 'I know many people are waiting patiently in the queue for a parent visa so we want to provide more generous tourist visas to enable regular extended family visits,' he said.

Applicants who fulfil certain criteria will be granted the five year visa. It will allow them to visit Australia as often as they like with a maximum stay of 12 months on any visit, Mr Bowen said this morning, 4th September 2012. He said that the changes will come into effect by the end of 2012.

Mr Bowen said that the change was brought about in recognition of 'the valuable role parents play in assisting their children and grandchildren in Australia and the social benefits such visits provide.'

The visas will be granted on a case-by-case basis 'and will enable parents to spend more time in Australia with their families while they wait for a parent visa,' Mr Bowen explained. Applicants must 'meet Australia's health and character requirements, have access to adequate funds, have health insurance to cover any healthcare costs…and intend a genuine visit to Australia.' Mr Bowen said that the government will also consider 3 year tourist visas for parents who are not in the queue for a parent visa. .

Extended tourist visa holders will still have to leave Australia to apply for a further visa, as do all tourist visa holders.

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