An increasing number of Indian-Australians want to bring their parents permanently to Australia as India’s battle with COVID-19 continues and Australia’s travel restrictions remain unchanged. Migration agents say the Indian community is showing deep interest in the contributory parent visa despite its hefty fee.
Data obtained from the Department of Home Affairs by SBS Hindi indicates a steady increase in the number of parent visa applications lodged by the Indian-Australian community over the past three years.
Over the period January-May 2021, Indian nationals lodged 1,362 parent visa applications as compared to 1,049 in the similar period of 2020.
- Nearly 30 per cent increase in parent visa applications from Indian-Australians over 12 months: Department of Home Affairs
- Migration agents note spike in contributory parent visa enquiries from Indian community
- India’s coronavirus crisis leads Australia’s Indian community to file parent visa applications
The same figure during January-May 2019 stood at 662 and at 671 lodgements in Jan-May 2018.
India’s COVID-19 crisis has made it harder for Indian-Australians to bring their parents here on tourist or sponsored temporary visas. This is said to be the main reason for the rise in the number of parent visa applications.
Australia offers permanent residency to parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents under two categories: the Contributory Parent visa Subclass 143 and the non-contributory Aged Parent visa Subclass 804.
Many migrants who become Australian citizens and permanent residents wish to have their parents with them permanently as their families remain divided.
But according to the Migration Act 1958, the definition of family includes spouse/de-facto partner and children of Australian citizens and permanent residents. Parents are not included in the definition of family.
This has been a pet peeve amongst several migrant communities of Australia and is not limited to the Indian community.
Jasdeep Bhatti, a resident of Melbourne told SBS Hindi that she is all set to file a contributory visa application for her parents who are currently in Jalandhar, India.
“My brother and I live in Melbourne and the COVID situation in India made us realise that we cannot leave our parents alone there,” Mrs Bhatti said.
“We are waiting for one document from my other sibling in Canada which needs to be attached with the application. The rest of the documents are ready and in the next few days, we should be able to submit the application,” she added.
Mukesh Desai and his wife say they felt “extremely lucky” to be in Melbourne with their son Jigesh when the second COVID-19 wave unfolded in India earlier this year.
The couple arrived here on a tourist visa from Surat in Gujarat in 2019. As the uncertainties around travel began to unfold last year, Jigesh immediately lodged a non-contributory Aged Parent Visa Subclass 804 for them.
“I came here on a visitor visa but then the COVID situation prompted us to lodge a Long Stay visa. As of now, I’m on a bridging visa till I’m granted permanent residency,” Mr Desai told SBS Hindi.
Gold Coast-based migration agent Seema Chauhan told SBS Hindi she has seen a significant increase in enquiries about permanent residency for parents in the last few months and the lodgements of parent visa applications have shot up after COVID-19.
“The pandemic has created such an uncertain atmosphere around travel, and also those who have lost one of their parents, are now queuing up for the Contributory Parent Visa and other visas which allow them to stay here permanently,” she said.
“The Contributory Parent Visa is the most-enquired category. Even if it is the most expensive and costs almost $100,000 for both parents, there is a five-year wait for final processing, much shorter than the other category,” Ms Chauhan added.
According to the website of the Department of Home Affairs, the Contributory Parent visa applications that meet all eligibility criteria, have a timeframe of at least 64 months for processing whereas the Aged Parent visa applications are expected to take up to 30 years.
“The demand for parent visas exceeds the number of visa places available in the annual Migration Program. It has resulted in an upward trend in processing timeframes in recent years,” a spokesperson of the Department of Home Affairs stated in response to a query by SBS Hindi.
“In the interest of equity for all applicants, parent visa applications are processed in the lodgement date order.
“The Government is continuously reviewing the settings for various visas to respond to the challenges posed by [the] COVID-19 pandemic and minimise adverse impacts on visa applicants and holders,” the spokesperson added.