Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann says the Labor policy on parental Visa announced before the Federal election was better and fairer.
Labor says it’s disappointed by the Turnbull Government’s broken promise on parental visas after the Federal Government revealed its new parental visa which will cost tens of thousands of dollars to migrant families.
The Government unveiled a new temporary sponsored visa for parents of migrants that will allow them to stay in Australia for up to five years. However, it’s cost has raised concerns among migrants and migration experts.
Under the new visa that is expected to come into effect later this year, a 3-year visa will carry a fee of $5,000 and a 5-year visa $10,000. The visa holders will have an opportunity to renew the visa once.
“Labor is disappointed by the Turnbull Government’s broken promise on parent visas,” says Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
“Before the election, Peter Dutton promised this visa would include a bond rather than a fee and made no mention of a visa cap, or that couples would need to choose between their parents and in-laws as part of a limit to one set of parents,” Mr Neumann told SBS Punjabi.
When this visa can be made available is dependent on the passage of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 through the Parliament.
The Coalition promised a parental visa just days before the 2016 Federal election after Labor announced its own policy to allow parents of migrants to stay in Australia for extended periods of time following a sustained campaign by members of the Indian community.
Adelaide man Arvind Duggal who spearheaded the ‘Long-Stay Visa for parents campaign’ says he is disappointed that the campaign has culminated in a visa which a large number of migrants will find unaffordable.
“Our campaign did succeed, that’s the reason for the government to bringing a policy for a long-stay visa for parents. But what the government has given us with one hand, with the very high visa fee, it has taken back from us with the other hand,” he says.
In June 2016, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office wrote to Mr Duggal that the parental visa will have a $5,000- 15,000 bond.
Justifying the high visa fee and mandatory Australian healthcare cover, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke told SBS, "there's a great expense to the taxpayer in relation to health costs over time with elderly parents. That's the problem that government's around the world have been wrestling with."
Mr Neumann says the visa policy Labor had announced before 2016 election was better than the one announced by the government.
“Labor supports children having the opportunity to temporarily reunite with their parents and we took a policy to the Federal election which we believe was better and fairer,” he says.
“I will continue to meet with migrant families and communities to discuss how this policy will affect their families.”
Mr Duggal says he will continue to meet politicians from different parties to find support to make this visa affordable.