Limited places and a very high demand for some family visas have ballooned the waiting periods up to half a century.
Indian migrant Puneet Mittal has always wanted his parents to live with his family in Australia. This year he applied for a permanent visa under the Non-Contributory Parent visa for his parents. But it won’t be before 2048 that a decision on their visa applications is made.
Mr Mittal’s father is in his late sixties and mother is in early sixties. They have been given bridging visas and can stay in Australia, but can’t access Medicare benefit until their applications are decided.
Mr Mittal says the three-decade waiting period is "comical".
“By the time my parents’ applications are processed, they will not be in good health as they are now and may not be considered medically fit for the visa grant,” he tells SBS Punjabi.
“I am pretty sure, they are not going to get a permanent residency. I just applied for the visa so that they are saved the hassle of reapplying for the visa repeatedly.”
The Department of Home Affairs has recently published the current processing timeframe for some family visas. While applications for parent visas are likely to take approximately 30 years, the timeframe for processing Aged Dependent Relative and Remaining Relative visa applications is "up to 50 years", according to the Department's website.
These applications are assessed in order of lodgement and are placed in a queue accordingly.
Once the cap for a particular year has been met, the remaining assessed applications are queued for processing in the subsequent year.
According to the information released by the Department of Home Affairs on migration planning levels, it will grant a maximum of 1500 parent visas, 7,175 contributory parent visas and 500 other family visas including Remaining Relative and Aged Dependent Relative visas. The cap of 500 on other family visas is down from last year’s 900.Jujhar Bajwa of Bajwa Migration in Melbourne says some family visas, especially parents visas are in high demand.
“Because the annual migration planning allows only a small number of visas under the parent category while the demand is increasing, a huge queue has now built up which will take decades to clear.”
He says while parent visas are popular because applicants can stay with their children in Australia while on a bridging visa, other family visas, such as the Remaining Relative visa, are not very popular among his clients.
“In all the years that I have been in this profession, I haven’t seen any of my clients getting this visa. The last one I know of was in 2003,” Mr Bajwa told SBS Punjabi.