On 8 May 2018, the Government announced a new pathway to permanent residence for holders of a retirement visa as part of the 2018-19 Budget.
Under this measure, holders of a retirement visa; specifically a Subclass 405 Investor Retirement visa or Subclass 410 Retirement visa may be eligible for permanent residency via the parent visa stream. That is, via one of the following visas:
- Subclass 103 Parent visa; or
- Subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa.
This measure, which commenced on 17 November 2018, was implemented to reflect that although the abovenamed retirement visas are temporary, retirees are generally long-term residents who have contributed to, and are well established in, the community.
This is a positive development for temporary resident retirees who have been unable to progress to permanent residency since this pathway was closed (note both the subclass 405 and 410 visas are closed to new applicants).
In this article, we take a closer look at this pathway to a parent visa as a retiree, including the eligibility requirements, how you can access this parent retirement resident visa pathway, the difference between the Subclass 103 Parent and Subclass 143 Contributory Parent visas under this pathway and the expected processing times and costs to apply for the parent visa as a retiree pathway.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements?
To be eligible for this pathway, on 8 May 2018:
- you must have held a Subclass 410 Retirement visa or a Subclass 405 Investor Retirement visa; or
- your last substantive visa was a Subclass 410 Retirement visa or a Subclass 405 Investor Retirement visa.
You must be located onshore to lodge your parent retirement resident visa pathway application.
Applicants must also not have held any substantive visa, apart from a subclass 410 or subclass 405 visa between 8 May 2018 and the date of your parent visa as a retiree application.
How Can You Apply For The Parent Retirement Resident Visa Pathway?
To apply, you must complete an application for a subclass 103 or subclass 143 visa using the prescibed form and send it to the Parent Visa Centre in Perth.
You can either be in Australia or offshore when your parent retirement resident visa pathway application is decided.
Which Parent Visa Should You Apply For?
The eligibility requirements for the subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa and Subclass 103 Parent visa are essentially the same.
There are, however, substantial differences in the visa application charge and processing period for these visas.
The Subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa has substantially shorter processing times and a higher visa application charge than the Subclass 103 Parent visa.
Under this process, the Government sets the planning ceiling for the annual permanent migration program. This includes allocating planning ceilings for the Parent visa category. Within these Parent category places, a small number of places are allocated to the parent visa as a retiree pathway.
Be aware that priority is given to those who apply for the subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa. No allocation of places for the subclass 103 Parent visas under the parent retirement resident pathway are available for at least the first four years of the program. Waiting times for subclass 103 Parent visas are significantly longer than those for subclass 143 Contributory Parent visas.
Retirement visa holders will need to consider their two options carefully.
The subclass 143 contributory parent visa carries a hefty visa application charge (currently $47,825), but is processed relatively quickly, so the applicant can expect to become a permanent resident within a few years.
The subclass 103 parent visa is far cheaper to apply for (currently $6,490), however is unlikely to ever be processed in the lifetime of the applicant. This is because the Government has limited the number of visas that can be granted in any once year, which means that a retirement visa holder applying for a subclass 103 parent visa today is likely to see out the remainder of their lives/stay in Australia as bridging visa holders.
They must ask for permission (travel Bridging Visa B) every time they wish to leave the country and return. They will not be eligible for health care and other government benefits (unless eligible through reciprocal health care arrangements). They will never have the comfort of having a finalised visa (and ultimately citizenship) in Australia. So the contributory parent visa is often the wiser choice for applicants, despite the high up front financial costs.
What Criteria Applies To The Pathway Application?
Applicants must meet most of the existing requirements for a parent visa. This includes health, character and identity criteria.
However, sponsorship, Australian family or Assurance of Support requirements are not required to be met, in recognition of retirees as long-term residents.
Remember, if you were granted your retiree visa after 8 May 2018, you will not be eligible for the parent visa as a retiree pathway as it is only intended to provide a pathway to permanent residence for retirees who held, or whose last substantive visa held was a retirement visa on 8 May 2018, and have not held any other kind of substantive visa since then.
Be mindful that once you have lodged a parent visa as a retiree pathway application and are awaiting a decision, you will be required to maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance in Australia, in accordance with the conditions on your previous or current retirement visa. You will be in breach of your visa conditions if you fail to maintain adequate arrangements health cover whilst your parent retirement resident visa pathway application is being processed.
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Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in applying for a visa in Australia, including a parent visa as a retiree pathway, as being fully informed will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your case. A migration professional can help you to do this. There are several terms that are defined in the migration law. Detailed advice about these is beyond the scope of this article and we would therefore recommend that you seek further information in this regard.
For up to date advice on your eligibility for the parent retirement resident visa pathway, contact PAX Migration Australia, a leading immigration service providing advice on a range of visas, including the parent visa as a retiree pathway. Contact us for a no obligation discussion on how we may be able to assist you to achieve your migration goals in Australia.