Australian Immigration Law Update: Longer Visitor Visa (Tourist Stream) for Parents of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Migration

Parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are able to apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) to visit Australia for a longer period. This allows parents who meet the criteria for a Visitor visa to have regular extended visits with their family in Australia without needing to apply for a new visa on each visit and also recognise the length of the Parent visa queue.

Multiple entry visas with a maximum stay of 12 months will be considered on a case-by-case basis with maximum validity periods of up to:

  • 5 years for parents outside Australia and in the Parent visa (subclass103) application queue;
  • 3 years for parents outside Australia who have:
    • had a previous Australian visa and complied with the conditions; and
    • have not applied for a Parent visa; or
    • have applied for a parent visa but are not yet in the Parent visa (subclass103) queue; and
  • 18 month for parents who have:
    • not previously travelled to Australia; and
    • have not applied for a Parent visa; or
    • have applied for a Parent visa but are not yet in the Parent visa (subclass103) queue.

Longer Visitor visas described above will also be considered for step parents and eligible New Zealand citizens.

To be granted a Visitor visa, applicants must meet all requirements including health, character, having sufficient funds and satisfying the decision maker that they intend a genuine visit and will comply with relevant visa conditions.

Applicants who are not eligible

Longer Visitor visas will not be available to other family members like partners or children who have existing permanent visa options with shorter queues.

It is unlikely that parents who have previously been refused a Visitor visa will now meet the requirements, unless their circumstances have changed.

Visitor visas are not intended for maintaining ongoing residence in Australia. Accordingly, longer Visitor visas will not be considered for parents who:

  • are already in Australia; or
  • have already spent 12 months in Australia in the last 18 months.

If you have recently stayed in Australia for an extended period, you will generally not be considered for a longer Tourist visa until you have spent a minimum of 6 months outside Australia in the last 18 months at the time you apply for a new Visitor visa. For example, if you have spent the last 12 months in Australia, you should wait for 6 months before applying for a new visa if you wish to be considered under these arrangements.

Visa conditions

Visa holders who do not comply with the conditions of their visa risk having their visa cancelled and in some cases being subject to exclusion periods from Australia. Compliance with visa conditions will also be considered in any future visa application.

In addition to standard Visitor visa conditions, parents granted longer Visitor visas will also be subject to the following conditions which are discussed below:

Period of stay in Australia – 12 months or less in any 18 month period

Parents who are granted a visa under these arrangements will have a visa condition which strictly limits their stay in Australia to no more than 12 months in any 18 month period.

Visa holders may visit Australia on multiple occasions while their visa is valid but must not stay in Australia for more than 12 months continually or a total of 12 months in any 18 month period. This means, for example, that if you stay in Australia for 12 months continually, you must then spend 6 months outside Australia before returning.

Your visa will automatically cease if you spend more than 12 months continually in Australia.

Health Insurance

Parents granted longer Visitor visas will be required to maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia.

Reciprocal health arrangements are not adequate to meet this requirement.

You may be requested to provide evidence that you hold 12 months’ health insurance cover if you are considered for a longer Visitor visa under these arrangements.

If you apply for another visa in the future, you may be asked to provide evidence that you held health insurance while in Australia on the previous visit.

Health insurance:

  • can be with any Australian insurer or reputable overseas insurer
  • doesn’t need to be with a specialist health insurance company
  • must be fully comprehensive (that is, it must provide at least Medicare equivalent cover including hospital, emergency, general practitioner and pharmaceutical benefits)

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