Settlement Guide

Visa options for parents of migrants in Australia

A grandson kissing his grandmother Source: Getty Images

Some migrant families have their hearts set on reuniting in Australia despite the time, costs and complexity of forever changing Australian migration law. After all, home is where the family is.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens are able to relocate their parents to Australia temporarily or permanently.



  • Contributory parent visas cost significantly more than parent visas but take less time for processing.
  • Introduced in April 2019, the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa allows parents to relocate to Australia for up to 10 years.
  • The number of visas granted each year to parents of migrants is capped.

There are two main visa categories – ‘Parent’ and ‘Contributory Parent’.

Contributory and non-contributory parent visas

The ‘Contributory Parent’ category is more expensive and offers more visa places in Australia's annual migration program, which runs from the 1st of July to the 30th of June.

Zeke Bentley, a migration agent and lawyer at The Migration Place in Brisbane, says the more affordable options are in high demand but can take up to 30 years to get approved.

On the other hand, if families are willing to spend between AUD 45,000 and AUD 55,000 per parent, they may be able to get their visa in about five years.

The slow way is particularly slow. It takes 18 to 30 years.

Smiling multi-generation Asian family
Smiling multi-generation Asian family
Getty Images

Apart from meeting financial criteria, visa applicants must also pass character, health and a ‘balance of family test', which measures the applicant’s family links to Australia.

Parents pass the balance of family test if they have more children living permanently in Australia than children living in any other single country.

If you've got three children, you need to show two of them have residency and live in Australia.

Both the contributory parent visa and the non-contributory parent visa are permanent visas. 

Temporary sponsored parent visa

In April 2019, the government introduced the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (Subclass 870) visa. 

Sam Jazayeri, of Sirus Migration Lawyers, says that parents on this new temporary visa can stay in Australia for up to three to five years per visa for a cumulative maximum of 10 years.

It gives the applicants the possibility of being here for up to ten years with their children or grandchildren.

This visa's cost is AUD 5,000 for up to three years or AUD 10,000 for up to five years stay. 

The processing time is approximately four months, and only one set of parents per couple may be sponsored. 

With the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (Subclass 870) visa, parents cannot work in Australia or apply for a permanent parent visa.

After ten years in Australia, they have to return to their home country.

Daughter embracing senior mother after outdoor family dinner party
Daughter embracing mother after outdoor family dinner party
Getty Images

Altogether there are seven types of visas for reuniting with parents, but the number of visas granted each Migration Program year is capped. 

For example, the combined maximum number of all Parent visas issued in the financial year 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 was 7,371 visas.

Additionally, 15,000 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas can be granted each migration program year.

Once the cap is reached, the Department of Home Affairs avoids issuing further visas until the next migration program year commences on the following 1 July.

For more information on Parent visas, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

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