As of 30 April, over 123,000 parent visa applications are waiting to be processed by the Department of Home Affairs.
Melbourne-based Marianna Giordana recently launched the Clear Parent Visa Backlog campaign. She estimates that at current planning levels, new visa applications will take about 19 years to be granted.
“At the moment of our application, most of us, we were told, it's going to take two to three years, something like that. This is not real. At the moment, we're talking about so much more."
Data provided by #ClearParentVisaBacklog and verified by the D-H-A shows that over the past nine years, a far higher number of parent visa applications are being lodged each year than are being processed.
For instance, in 2013-2014, the department received more than 26,000 parent visa applications, but only about 9,000 were granted. In 2020-21, more than 14,000 parent visa applications were received, but only about 5,000 granted.
According to Abul Rizvi – former deputy secretary of the Department of Immigration – concern over an ageing population is a factor.
“Look this is difficult policy. There is no question. This is very difficult policy. And to the extent possible, the aim should be to allow parents to visit their migrant children to the extent possible without impinging on costs to the health aged care and age pension system. But achieving that objective is very difficult. No country, in my view, has found a sensible way of managing that. It's a challenge we face here in Australia.”