Australian Senate votes to save family visas

14 November 2014


We remind you that in September the Australian senate voted to save four visa classes which relate to family members. These visa categories had previously been discontinued from June 2014.

These types of visa allow Australian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor relatives to come and join them in Australia. They were first introduced in the Migration Act of 1958.

The government says that scrapping these visas was beneficial as more money can be made if family members instead applied for more expensive contributory family visas.

The Contributory Parent Visa (subclass 143) allows parents to settle in Australia if they have a child who is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen living in Australia. The cost of this type of visa can be as much as $47,000.

Senator Michaelia Cash supporting the government position argued that getting rid of these visas would lighten the Department of Immigration's workload. For many people it was not worth even applying for these visas as waiting times for some of the family visas was 25 years. The government would also benefit from the additional revenue generated from candidates having no alternative but to apply for more expensive types of family visas.

However University of Sydney law experts warned that if the family visas were scrapped then family reunions would only be a 'preserve of the rich.'

In the end, the majority of the senate voted in favour of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's motion to save the four family visa classes.

Senator Hanson-Young announced: 'the Senate has voted to keep families living together and looking after each other in Australia.'

Hanson-Young also added that the vote means 'thousands of Australian families will have a chance to reunite with relatives from around the world.'

Sanwar Ali, of Workpermit.com says 'the Senate had previously voted to scrap a number of family visas in June, so it is good news that migrants are now able apply again for these four types of family visa.'