New parental visa a "blackmail and deceit", says the visa campaigner

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The high cost of the new parental visa has left those who campaigned for it disappointed.

Turnbull government revealed a new parental visa on Wednesday that would allow parents of migrants to stay in Australia for up to a decade.

However, the ‘high’  cost of the visa is a concern for many migrants who say the visa in its current form will be unaffordable.

“How many of us can afford to pay $10,000 in visa fees and then also add insurance premiums. It’s simply unaffordable,” says Adelaide resident Arvind Duggal who spearheaded a campaign for a long-stay parental visa.

The Federal Government made good on its promise of a parental visa made before last year’s federal election. However, Mr Duggal says he is disappointed with the new visa which he says is “highly expensive”.

“We were told there could be a refundable security bond deposit which would be still fine. But what’s the rationale of paying $5,000 for a three-year visa when you can get a two-year stay for a visa that costs just $170?” he quips.

“After the announcement (of the visa) last year, people voted for Liberals in election believing they will get to live with their parents longer. But it turns out to be a deceit. It’s blackmailing,” he adds.

Arvind Duggal
Arvind Duggal
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Under the new scheme, applicants could seek a three-year visa for $5,000 or a five-year visa for $10,000, with the opportunity for a single renewal for another five years at the same price.

The financial burden of healthcare for migrant parents will be shouldered by their children under the new visa, with sponsors legally required to pay for their private health insurance.

The children will also need to act as financial guarantor on any extra healthcare costs their parents rack up in Australia.

For both parents, the visa and insurance cost alone could cost up to $90,000 for a ten-year stay. 

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Those on the new visa will not be allowed to work, however, the government hopes they will take on family roles which would see “reduced pressure on childcare facilities.”

“Grandparents will be available and able to, under this visa, care for their grandchildren while the parents work,” Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told SBS News.

While the new visa has been criticised for the extremely high fee, some immigration experts believe it’s still a good visa for migrants seeking to live with their parents for extended periods.

“It is considerably less expensive than a Contributory parent visa and would enable people who cannot afford those high visa application charges a way to come and spend considerable time in Australia with their families. I believe it is likely that there will be significant demand for these visas,” Migration expert from Concordia Law, Michael Arch told SBS Punjabi.

“This appears to be a response to the fact that the regular non-contributory stream for parent visas is simply not working due to the long queue times and this at least gives parents a way to come and have lengthy stays in Australia,” he added.

However, there also concerns with regard to the high costs associated with the private health insurance.

“The visa is good for parents who are in good health. But the concern is that as they grow older living here for extended periods, the health insurance costs may be too high to cover everything they might need,” said Emma Drynan, a registered migration agent.

Australian National University’s migration expert Henry Sherrell says the private health insurance premiums could be very high.

“This is one of the first times we've seen where temporary migrants will be liable for public health cover in this country,” he said.

Arvind Duggal says he will have to once again go back to the community members to resuscitate his campaign.

“I have sent a message to the Immigration Minister’s office this morning.

“We campaigned long and hard, but not for this. If required, we will go to other political parties as well,” he says.

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