The Department has announced that holders of a retirement visa – specifically Subclass 405 (Investor Retirement) and Subclass 410 (Retirement) visas – may now be eligible for permanent residency via the parent visa stream- through Subclass 103 (Parent) visa or the Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent) visa. This new programme commences from 17 November 2018. The legislation change can be found here.

This is a positive development for temporary resident retirees who have been unable to progress to permanent residency since this pathway was closed.

To be eligible for this pathway, applicants must meet health and character requirements, and must also maintain adequate health insurance until grant of the permanent residence visa. Applicants must not have held another substantive visa in the intervening period (other than the temporary resident visa). Applicants are also not required to meet the balance of family test to qualify.

Retirement visa holders will need to consider their two options carefully. The 143 contributory parent visa carries a hefty visa application charge (c.$50,000) but is processed relatively quickly, so the applicant can expect to become a permanent resident within a few years. The 103 parent visa is far cheaper to apply for (around $4,000) however is unlikely to ever be processed in the lifetime of the applicant. This is because the Government, who would like to abolish this visa but cannot due to lack of Parliamentary support, (their previous attempt in 2015 was disallowed), wants to limit the grants of these visas – currently at around 1,500 places per year. The “queue” is around 30 years long. This means a retirement visa holder applying for a 103 non contributory 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.

It has also been announced that new spouse and de facto partners of current subclass 410 (Retirement) visa holders will be unable to apply for this visa, effective from 17 November 2018. If you are a spouse or de facto partner looking to apply, you should do so as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.

For up to date advice on your eligibility for a skilled visa, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.