Labor is promising to cut the parent visa fee to just one-fourth of what it's now and remove a cap of 15,000 visas with the ability to renew visas without having to leave Australia.
A Labor Government will significantly reduce the fee for temporary sponsored parent visa and remove a cap of 15,000 visas that it is currently subject to.
Applications for parent sponsorships opened last week and visa applications will be accepted from July 1 this year after the coalition government introduced a visa that will allow parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens a continuous stay in the country for up to five years, first promised before 2016 federal election.
However, the visa came under criticism over the fee - $10,000 for a five-year visa and $5,000 fee for a three-year visa. Labor will cut the fee to $2,500 and $1,250 for a five-year and three-year visas respectively.
Shadow Minister for Immigration Shayne Neumann and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen will announce the party’s parent visa policy on Monday in Sydney.
The policy also proposes to remove the “heartless, callous and cruel condition” of limiting the visa to one set of parents per household under the current visa. A Labor Government will also remove an annual cap of 15,000 visa.
Under Labor’s policy, parents will not have to leave Australia at the end of their visa if they want to have it renewed. Under the available visa, visa holder parents have to leave Australia at the expiry of their visa before it can be renewed.
“Labor’s fairer Long Stay Parent visa will be more affordable for families – unlike the Liberal’s expensive fees that see families paying up to $40,000 to access visas,” the Labor leaders will say.
Immigration Minister David Coleman earlier said the visa fee was “reasonable”.
"It is important that the government is able to run a sustainable migration program where the cost of running the program is not only born by the taxpayers but also by the people," Mr Coleman said last month.
"So we think it's a reasonable charge and the initial indications are that it's going to be very well subscribed."
The visa that the government has delivered is significantly different from the one promised before the 2016 federal election. The promised visa did not have an annual cap on the number of visas and the sponsoring children would have been required to pay a refundable bond.
Members of the Indian community who campaigned for a long-stay parent visa said government’s visa was “unaffordable” and called it a “blackmail”.
Labor has termed the government’s visa “a broken promise” and vowed to replace it with a “fair” visa.
“We know the importance of the family and grandparents in the lives of young people. Children have a right to be cared for by both sets of grandparents,” Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann told SBS Punjabi last month.