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While the expensive temporary parent visa still awaits the clearance in the Senate, the Turnbull government has made another change that makes it harder to sponsor parents’ migrant visas.
The earning threshold has been lifted in the Assurance of Support Scheme by the Department of Social Services which means migrant families will need to earn significantly more if they want to sponsor their relatives’ visa applications.
If a couple in Australia wants to financially support their parents to migrate, they will need to earn a combined $115,475 a year. The previous figure was $45,185.
A single person will now need to be earning $86,606.
The government says the scheme is designed to make sure sponsors can support the new migrants and themselves and is mandatory for some visa categories such as the parent, aged dependant, contributory parent and remaining relative visa.
Indian migrants in Australia who have campaigned vigorously for a long stay visa for parents have slammed the changes and called it ‘discriminatory’.
Jasvinder Sidhu, one of the founder of the Parent Long Stay Visa Committee (PLSVC), told SBS Hindi that lifting the income threshold means fewer families can reunite with their parents.
“This is a discriminatory policy and will affect the Indian community the most,” he says.
Mr Sidhu says Indian migrants who have worked hard, paid taxes, contributed thousands of dollars to the education sector will suffer the most.
“Earlier migrants from Vietnam, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Italy and many others have been able to bring their entire families, including parents and grandparents, to Australia through family reunion visas without much issues or costs.
“Our community works hard, pays taxes, has contributed thousands of dollars to the education sector and yet we are treated this way.
“This new condition of higher income levels cannot be met by most Indian migrants. This means thousands of families will suffer and will not be united.
“It will divide many families forever and this is shameful,” he adds.
Arvind Duggal, who is one of the founder of campaign committee says it's a very "disappointing step" by the Government.
“It’s hard to believe the same government which promised migrants a fairer long stay visa just 10 days before elections is now trying their best to make family reunion as hard as possible, whether it is temporary or permanent,” he told SBS Hindi.
The much anticipated Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa, announced by the government in May this year, is yet to pass the Senate.
The visa, which would allow Australians to have their parents spend extended periods of time with them in Australia, was announced by Assistant Minister of Department of Home Affairs, Alex Hawke on 5th May 2017.
The new parent visa which is yet to pass the parliament will allow migrants to seek a three-year visa for their parents for $5000, a five-year visa for $10,000 and a ten-year visa for $20,000.
Under the new visa scheme, 15,000 visas will be made available annually and the visa may be renewed from outside Australia to allow a cumulative stay of up to ten years.
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