Migrants will have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to bring their parents and family members to Australia after the government scrapped a number of family reunion visas in the federal budget.
Applications for the Other Family and Non-Contributory Parent visas will stop being taken by the end of this financial year, prompting a rush by migration agents desperate to lodge visa forms before the changes come into play.
A non-contributory visa requires a regular processing fee, but no upfront fee. The Contributory stream requires an extra upfront fee, which can be thousands of dollars.
The non-contributory visa category includes regular sponsored parent, aged parent, carers and remaining relative visas.
The Contributory stream, which can cost up to $125,000 for both parents to come to Australia, will still be available.
Ethnic communities have expressed concerns over the move, which they say will make migrants think twice about settling in Australia.
They're also concerned about the end of the sponsored Carer's visa, saying this move will put additional pressure on Australia's public health and aged care systems.
The non-contributory parent visas were capped at 2150 places in the last financial year.
The demand for the visa means there are nearly 32,000 applicants in the pipeline awaiting approval to make Australia home.
There are 12,500 people awaiting approval in the Contributory – or paid – visa category.
That stream was capped at 6575 places in the 2012-13 financial year.