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Skilled migrants to suffer from scrapping of Subclass 103 parents visa

The Government’s Budget announcement that it will be ceasing lodgement of new applications under the Other Family and Non-Contributory Parent visas will take place prior to the start of the 2014-15 programme year, said the Migration Institute of Australia president Ms Angela Chan.

The visa subclasses affected are: Parent (subclass 103),   Aged Parent (subclass 804), Aged Dependent Relative (114/838),  Remaining Relative (115/835), and Carer (116/836)                         

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) is concerned that as the current balance of migration significantly favours skilled migration this may lead to potential skilled migrants reconsidering their choice of whether to migrate to Australia. 

The only option for migrants who want to sponsor their parents will be under the Contributory Parent visas. The cost of sponsoring both parents to migrate to Australia under any of the Contributory Parent Subclasses is substantial when visa application charges and the Medicare surcharge are taken into account. For two parents to migrate, the current cost will be approximately $125,460 which is payable before the visas are granted.  A single parent would cost $59,490. The costs are automatically increased annually on 1st July.

“Not being able to eventually sponsor your parents to migrate may be a disincentive for skilled migrants to choose to migrate to Australia and lead them to reconsider migration to other countries that welcome parents, such as Canada and the USA,” said National President, Ms Chan, FMIA.

“When considering settlement options for migrants, the social and economic benefits to the community must both be taken into consideration and a balance must be struck.  Parents, for example, provide an enormous support to their children and grandchildren who have migrated and also increase demand for consumer products,” said Ms Chan.

The Government has defended its decision to scrap these visas because of the long delays in processing, sometimes in excess of 14 years and because it says they are not of economic benefit to Australia. 

Non-contributory Parent visas are currently granted at the rate of 2250 places each year. The Government will be offering an alternative of long term visitor visas to parents who cannot afford to be sponsored.

The MIA has requested that the Government consider abolishing the Balance of Family test which is another limitation placed on sponsoring parents.

MIA members are responsible for the provision of migration advice to people who wish to migrate to Australia. Skilled adult migrants make an essential and much needed contribution to Australia’s skills needs, fuelling Australia’s economy by channelling their earnings back into the tax system.

 “Many migrants look forward to reunification with parents after a period of settling into life in Australia. Filial piety (respect for one’s parents) is still a very strong tradition in many Asian communities,” said Ms Chan.

The MIA is the peak association representing registered migration agents and lawyers both in Australia and internationally. It is a member association of Professions Australia.