Annapurna Chetti’s application for a five-year sponsored parent visa was approved in just about ten days.
Melbourne man Nagender Chetti would often worry about his mother who was left alone in India after his brother moved to Queensland.
“I tried to visit her as often as I could, but the last time I did was over a year ago, just for a week since I was working on a project,” he told SBS Punjabi.
Since both Mr Chetti and his brother are now settled in Australia, not being able to live with their mother without having to leave Australia “every now and then”, was a source of constant worry.
So, when the new temporary sponsored parent visa was introduced after a much protracted legislative process, Mr Chetti was quick to lodge the application.
“I submitted my application for approval as a sponsor as soon as they opened in April and then got the visa application in, soon after they started accepting them,” he said.
Mr Chetti said he was simultaneously preparing to apply for a normal visitor visa application to get his mother to Australia. However, to his surprise, even before he could submit that application, his mother’s five-year visa was approved.
“It just took ten days for the visa to come and she arrived here last week. It’s such a joyful reunion for the family,” he said.
Immigration Minister David Coleman says, 1300 sponsorship applications and 170 visa applications have been lodged.
“As expected there has been strong demand for the new visa,” Mr Coleman said.
“For these first families and the others who will soon have their applications approved, the opportunity to bring their parents to Australia will be a source of great joy.”
The visa was first promised in June 2016 in the run-up to the 2016 federal election. The availability of it was tied to the new family sponsorship framework that passed through parliament in October last year.
The visa faced staunch criticism over it's “excessive” fee – costing $5,000 for three years and $10,000 for a five-year validity.
Mr Chetti says it made sense for him to go for this visa.
“At this time, this is the only visa that allows my mother to stay with us for this long. The permanent residency visa has a waiting period of 30 years. We are thinking of applying for the contributory PR, but even that has a waiting of 4-5 years. So, this visa will let her stay in Australia until then,” he says.
Currently, permanent parent visa can have a waiting of up to 30 years. Parent visa applicants do have an faster pathway but it costs approximately $50,000.
Under the temporary sponsored parent visa, parent can live in Australia for up to five years and can have their visa renewed for another five years after spending some time out of Australia.
The government will issue a maximum of 15,000 visas each year.