Family visas in Australia have a very simple purpose: they help keep families together. There are many different situations that can lead to an Australian citizen or permanent resident wanting to bring their family to Australia. The family visas available under Australian immigration law are designed to allow that.
What is a family visa for Australia?
Family visas for Australia allow Australian citizens and permanent visa holders, as well as eligible New Zealand citizens, to bring family members to live in Australia. The visas might be temporary or they might put your family on the path to permanent residency. But it’s important to remember that immigration is not always straight forward. There are a wide range of migration pathways and family visas available, so you must be careful to work out which one is right for your situation. You should consider how long your family wants to stay (permanently or temporarily), their age, and how they’re related to you, amongst other things.
Here are some of the Family Visa options in Australia:
Partners of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen use this visa as a migration pathway. Your partner will need to sponsor your application, but eligibility for this visa subclass also turns on whether you and your eligible partner are:
- Married; or
- In a de facto relationship.
Same-sex couples are eligible to apply under this category.
How do partner visas work?
Partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents or eligible New Zealanders apply for a temporary visa and a permanent visa at the same time. If you are granted the temporary visa, you can join your partner in Australia and wait for your permanent visa. You and your partner are likely to be required to remain together while you wait for your permanent visa. Applicants usually wait between 11 to 20 months for these applications to be processed.
Parent visas let the parents of children who are eligible Australian visa holders come to Australia. In most cases, the child must provide sponsorship to bring their parents to Australia. There are many categories of parent visa, including:
Parent (permanent) visa subclass 103
This parent visa subclass is for people who have a child who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Eligible New Zealand citizens who live in Australia can also sponsor parents who want to move to Australia. It allows the parents to apply for Australian permanent residency in the future. But there are a strictly limited number of these parent visas available. The wait list for applicants to receive a determination is exceptionally long. In fact, it may take up to 30 years according to the Department of Home Affairs timeline.
Contributory parent (permanent) visa subclass 143
This parent visa allows a child who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen to sponsor their parent to live in Australia for up to two years. There is a shorter wait list for this visa, and it paves the way for permanent residency under the contributory parent (permanent) visa subclass 143 in the future. The reason for the shorter waitlist is that the Australian Government doesn’t require an Assurance of Support for this immigration application.
Child visas let dependent children move to or remain in Australia with their parents. They are designed to ensure that the lives of children are not uprooted entirely and that they can continue to receive the support and care of their parents. In some cases, the child or dependent may need to be sponsored – but not always.
Dependent children of an Australian citizens, eligible New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent visas can move when their parents do. The category of visa that they apply for depends on whether they are already in Australia or in another country. Usually, the child must be dependent, and:
- aged under 18, or
- under 25 and a full-time student, or
- over 18 and unable to work due to a disability.
Dependent child visa subclass 445
This category of visa lets children stay in Australia until the Department of Home Affairs decides their parent’s permanent partner visa application. The children must be sponsored to meet the applicant’s eligibility requirements. Applicants usually wait between 14 to 18 months to receive the determination about this visa from the Immigration Department.
There are a range of migration options available for dependents that may not be covered by these scenarios. For instance, orphaned overseas relatives can be brought to the country to live with Australian citizens or permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens. Children who are being adopted by eligible citizens or residents also have a dedicated visa subclass available. It is best to meet with an immigration lawyer about which family visa works best for your situation.
Migration Options for Overseas Relatives With Family Sponsorship
Citizens or residents with permanent visas have a range of options to sponsor their relatives. There are immigration options for aged parents or parents of working age, as well as children. In cases where there is only one relative left in a family, they may be eligible to receive sponsorship to come to Australia using a remaining relative visa.
The best way to work out your immigration pathway is to speak with a qualified immigration lawyer.