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Parent Visas Updates: Contributory Parent & Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870)

Parent Visa is divided into two main categories (including aged dependent relative) and contributory parent visas (including contributory aged parent visas). Many of the eligibility requirements for parent and contributory parent visas are the same, but there are several important differences in the application process.

It is vital to note, there is currently a 30 year wait on the granting of parent visas.

Whereas contributory parent visa application is given priority over that of a regular parent visa application, and applications are usually finalized within four to five years.

However, the contributory parent visas attract substantially higher costs  and, for the permanent visas, a higher assurance of support bond.


Common criteria for Parent and Contributory Parent Visas

Parent and contributory parent visas common criteria:

1.       The applicant, must be the parent of a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

2.      The applicant must have an eligible sponsor (please see below for information on eligible sponsors).

3.      The applicant must pass the ‘balance of family test’, which relates to the permanent location of your children (see below), unless you hold one of the Contributory Parent (Temporary) visas (subclass 173 or subclass 884).

4.      The applicant are required to pay a visa charge of two instalments (and, in the case of permanent visas, your sponsor must provide an assurance of support).

5.      The applicant must pass all relevant health and character checks.

To qualify to apply for any of the Aged Parent visas, you must be of the age required to receive an Australian Aged Pension.

To apply for a parent visa, you must be the parent of a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. ‘Settled’ is defined in the Migration Regulations as ‘Lawfully resident in Australia for a reasonable period of time’. For Australian permanent resident visa holders, this is usually considered to be two years, although exceptions may apply on compassionate grounds. For Australian citizens, a much shorter period of residence in Australia can be considered to be a ‘reasonable’ period of time. Each individual case is considered on its own facts.


Applicants for parent and contributory parent visas require eligible sponsors. Your sponsor is generally your child, but in some cases your child may not be eligible—for example, if he or she has not turned eighteen or is not a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. In this situation, you may be sponsored by your child’s cohabiting spouse, if the spouse has turned eighteen and is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

If both your child and his or her spouse are ineligible to sponsor you, you may be sponsored by:

1.       A close relative of your child who is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen; or

2.       A guardian of the child if the guardian has turned eighteen and is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen; or

3.       A community organization

Balance of Family Test

A parent meets the balance of family test if:

  • at least half their children and stepchildren are eligible children, or
  • there are more eligible children than children living in any other single country.

You and your partner’s children, including stepchildren and adopted children, are counted in the balance of family test.

Children are not counted if they:

  • are deceased
  • have been removed from their parents’ exclusive legal custody by adoption, court order or operation of law
  • are registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as refugees and live in a camp operated by the UNHCR
  • live in a country where they suffer persecution or human rights abuse and can’t be reunited with their parents in another country

A child is an ‘eligible child’ if they are:

  • an Australian citizen, or
  • an Australian permanent resident usually resident in Australia, or
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia

Any other child of the parent is an ineligible child. An ineligible child is taken to be resident overseas.

The Department of Immigration will not consider children who are in Australia on a temporary visa as usually resident in Australia.

If a child’s whereabouts are unknown, the Department of Immigration will consider that they are resident in their last known usual country of residence.

Parent Visas

Applying from outside Australia

Applicants from outside Australia must apply for a Parent (Migrant) visa (subclass 103). The waiting period for the grant of an offshore parent visa is lengthy – around 30 years.

Once your application is assessed as meeting all relevant criteria, it is assigned a queue date. You should expect to wait many years for your visa to be granted.

You are required to undergo further medical examinations and character checks before the visa is granted. Unfortunately, the health of some applicants deteriorates during the long waiting period, and they may no longer meet the relevant health criteria. This means that the visa application will be refused.

Therefore, applying for a different visa may be a better option.

Applying from within Australia

If you want to apply for a parent visa from within Australia, you need to apply for an Aged Parent (Residence) visa (subclass 804).

It is important to remember that, as the name indicates, age requirements apply.

Waiting periods are also quite long for this visa, but the benefit of applying onshore is that you will be granted a bridging visa, which allows you to remain in Australia with your child or children through the lengthy waiting period.

Unless you are from a country that has a reciprocal health-care agreement with Australia, you will not be eligible for Medicare while you are on a bridging visa.

Assurance of Support (AoS)

The sponsor, or another nominated person, is required provide an Assurance of Support (AoS) (arranged through Centrelink/the Department of Human Services) and lodge a bond just prior to the grant of the visa.

Contributory Parent Visas

Applying for a Contributory Parent Visa from outside Australia

The two subclasses of contributory parent visas for which you can apply from outside Australia are:

  1. Contributory Parent (Migrant) visa (subclass 143)
  2. Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173)

You can also apply for these visas in Australia, but if it is your first application for a contributory parent visa, you will not be granted a bridging visa. Therefore, you would not be able to remain in Australia after your current visa expires.

The Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173) is valid for two years and gives you access to Medicare and full work rights. A Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa cannot be extended or renewed, but you can apply for the corresponding permanent visa within the temporary visa’s period of validity (see below).

If you are the holder of a Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173) you may apply for and be granted the Contributory Parent (Migrant) visa (subclass 143) inside or outside of Australia.

As with all of the contributory parent visas, two instalments of visa application charges must be paid. Both the temporary and permanent contributory parent visas have a first visa application charge (1st VAC) and a second visa application charge (2nd VAC). The 2nd VAC can be quite substantial, for example, a permanent contributory parent 2nd VAC is currently AUD$43,600 for each applicant over 18 years of age.

As the subclass 143 is a permanent visa, an Assurance of Support must also be paid, which is currently AUD$10,000 for the first applicant and AUD$4,000 per additional applicant. Provided the applicant does not receive specified Centrelink (social security) benefits, this bond will be returned to the assurer after ten years from the grant of the visa.

Subclass 173, a temporary visa, has a lower second VAC for each applicant over eighteen years of age. As it is a temporary visa, an assurance of support is not required.

Applying for a Contributory Parent Visa from within Australia

If you apply for a contributory parent visa from inside Australia and wish to remain in Australia during the processing of your application, you must apply for one of the following:

  1. Contributory Aged Parent (Residence) visa (Subclass 864)
  2. Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa (Subclass 884)         

As these are ‘aged’ parent visas, age requirements apply.

The subclass 884 (temporary), like the subclass 173, is valid for two years and allows you to access Medicare and enjoy full work rights.

The subclass 864, like the subclass 143 (above), visa is a permanent visa and attracts the higher visa application charge as well as requiring an Assurance of Support. Please see the Department of Immigration website for the latest visa application charges for all visa types.

Moving from a Temporary to a Permanent Visa

If you hold one of the temporary contributory parent visas and would like to remain in Australia beyond its two-year validity period, you can apply for the corresponding permanent visa within those two years. If you take this step within the two years, there are advantages, including:

1.       A reduced first visa application charge

2.       A less detailed application form

3.       An exemption from re-assessment of the ‘balance of family test’

4.       An exemption, in most cases, from further health checks

These concessions are only granted if the temporary visa holder applies within the two-year validity period of that visa. Please note that the Department of Home Affairs will not remind you when this two-year period ends. If you do not apply for a permanent visa within that time, you will have to apply for a new visa and pay new application fees.

Refused Parent Visas and the Medical Treatment Visa

Your parent or other family visa application may be refused on health grounds. In this situation, you may be able to apply for a Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602) in order to remain in Australia.

Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870) Visa

The Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870) visa allows visa holders to travel to Australia to be reunited with their child or children, visit Australia for up to three or five years per visa, and re-apply for further Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870) visas to visit Australia for up to a maximum period of 10 years in total.

This visa is not subject to the balance of family test.

The Sponsored Parent (subclass 870) visa is a temporary visa, and does not provide a pathway to permanent residence in Australia.

You must be outside Australia for at least 90 days before being eligible to be granted another Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa, unless you have Permission to Apply in Australia.

If you have held Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas for the cumulative maximum 10 year period, you must either depart Australia or apply for another kind of visa that will allow you to remain in Australia. You will not be eligible for grant of a further Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa.

Permission to Apply in Australia

Permission to Apply in Australia allows you to apply for this visa in Australia, and it must be requested by your sponsor in their sponsorship application form.

If you have Permission to Apply in Australia, you must lodge your visa application within 60 days of sponsorship approval. If you do not apply within 60 days, you will have to lodge your visa application outside Australia within 6 months of sponsorship approval, or make an application for a different kind of visa to remain in Australia.

If you do not have Permission to Apply in Australia, you must apply from outside Australia within 6 months of sponsorship approval or make an application for and be granted a different kind of visa to remain in Australia.


You must have an approved Parent Sponsor to apply for this visa and your sponsor’s household is limited to one sponsorship at a time. However your sponsor’s sponsorship can cover up to 2 parents per household at a time.

An approved Parent Sponsor can sponsor:

  • one or both of their parents, or
  • one, or both, of their partner’s parents, or
  • one of their parents and one of their partner’s parents.

To be eligible as a Parent Sponsor, you must be at least 18 years of age and be the child of the prospective visa applicant (or the child’s spouse or de facto partner).

You must also be:

  • an Australian citizen, or
  • an Australian permanent resident usually resident in Australia for at least four years or eligible New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia for at least four years, and
  • you have not been unlawful or held a bridging visa (other than a bridging visa A, B or C) during the last four years

If you are sponsoring your Partner’s parents, your Partner must also be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.

You must also have met and complied with any previous sponsorship obligations, and have no debt owing to the Australian government.

A Parent Sponsor must also pass the income test. This means that your taxable income for the most recent completed taxable income year prior to the date of lodgement of the sponsorship application must be at least equal to or greater than AUD $83,454.80.

If you cannot pass the income test yourself, you can combine your taxable income with your partner and/or another child of the prospective visa applicant who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. If combining income, your taxable income must be at least 50 percent of the taxable income amount specified above to pass the income test.

A Parent Sponsor will also be required to meet character requirements in order to become approved, and agree to comply with sponsorship obligations.

Period of Sponsorship Approval

A sponsorship will end:

  • if the sponsor’s permanent visa is cancelled
  • if the sponsor dies
  • if the sponsor withdraws their sponsorship
  • if the prospective visa applicant does not apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa within 6 months after approval of the sponsorship
  • the day the granted Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa ends.

Sponsor Obligations

Approved sponsors must agree that they will:

  • provide financial support and accommodation for the sponsored parent while they are in Australia. This obligation ends if the sponsored parent is granted a permanent visa
  • pay back all outstanding public health debts incurred by the sponsored parent in Australia. The Sponsor must pay the debt back even if the sponsored parent leaves Australia

If the Parent Sponsor does not comply with their sponsorship obligations, the Department of Immigration might cancel their sponsorship and/or their parent’s visa.


So if you or anyone you know is thinking of or has applied for an Australian Parent Visa contact us to discuss your Appeal or Review options.  Remember TRUST ONLY a Master Migration Lawyer and make an appointment with AR LAW Services: Master Migration Lawyer.

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Note: this update, or any previous updates on this page, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please call our office to seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content on this page