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Australia Dependant Visas and Processing Times

Australia has been a popular destination for migrating families for many decades, attracted by the warm climate, outdoor lifestyle, booming economy, and laidback culture. It might be that you are already in Australia and wish to bring your dependant family members out to join you, or you may be planning to all arrive at the same time.

Whether you are the partner or spouse, child, dependant relative, parent, or another family member of a person living in Australia with a visa, it is important to check which visa immigration route to use and whether you are eligible. In this article, we will explain how the Australian dependant visa system works, and the eligibility rules which apply.

There is a range of different dependant visa options for Australia, as follows.

Prospective Marriage Visa

The prospective marriage visa scheme is open to individuals who are planning to get married to an Australian citizen, a person with an Australian permanent residence visa, or an eligible New Zealand national. If granted, they will have nine months during which they can get married in Australia. The application fee is not inexpensive, at AUD$7,715, and the application processing time is 16 months for 75% of applications and 29 months for 90% of applications.

Partner (Provisional) Visa

The partner (provisional) visa allows a partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia for a limited period of time (typically 15 to 24 months). The application fee is AUD$7,715 for the main applicant and covers the provisional visa and the cost of the permanent Partner (Migrant) visa, which can be applied for later. Provisional partner visa applications are processed within 15 months in 75% of cases, and 20 months for 90% of applications.

Contributory Parent Visa

The contributory parent visa allows a parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident of Australia, or eligible New Zealand citizen to move to Australia. In order to be eligible for this visa, you will need to prove that ??at least half of your children are living permanently in Australia. This visa has a very high cost of AUD$47,755 (which can be paid in two instalments). No processing times are quoted for this visa, but they are typically shorter than the standard parent visa, and there are 3,500 available visas.

Parent Visa

As the parent of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen, if your child is willing to sponsor you, you may be eligible for a parent visa. The process of applying can take around three years for the first stage, and around a year to a year and a half for the second stage; potentially up to five years. There are only a very limited number of parent visas (1000), hence the long waiting time. The cost of applying is currently AUD$6,415.

Aged Dependent Relative Visa

The Aged Dependant Relative visa allows a single older person who is reliant on a relative living in Australia for financial support, to live in Australia permanently. To be eligible, you must be single and of sufficient age to qualify for an aged pension in Australia. The cost of this visa is AUD$6,415.

Carer Visa

Carer visas enable individuals to live in Australia permanently to provide “ongoing substantial care and support” for a sponsoring relative or a family member who has no reasonable access to care in Australia. Successful applicants will also be able to work in Australia. The cost of this visa is currently AUD$3,860.

Remaining Relative Visa

The remaining relative visa is designed to assist individuals to join their only remaining close family member in Australia. The family member in Australia must also agree to sponsor their relatives. The visa application fee for the remaining relative visa is currently set at AUD$6,415.

Orphan Relative Visa

The orphan relative visa allows single children to move to Australia to live with a relative if their parents are dead, are unable to care for them, or can't be found. As with many Australian dependant family visas, the family member based in Australia must agree to act as a sponsor to the child. The application fee is AUD$1,630.

Applying as A Child with A Parent in Australia

The process for a child joining a parent in Australia is straightforward if the parent is on one of the following visa types:

  • Student visa (subclass 500);
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457);
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489);
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482);
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188);
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403);
  • Training visa (subclass 407);
  • Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408)

If this is the case, then a ‘subsequent entrant’ application can be made using the online immigration portal (Immi Account), but only if the child was declared as a family member on the original visa application. If not, then it may be necessary to apply for a child visa. A temporary dependent child visa is usually given until permanent status can be granted. To be eligible, the child must be sponsored by the nominator or sponsor of the visa-holding parent. The application fee for both visas is AUD$2,665.

Final Words

There are many different dependant visa types within the Australian immigration system. It is always advisable that before you apply, you should seek the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer who can fully assess your situation, and that of your family, to work out the best option available in terms of processing time, cost, and rights.

In many cases, the official Australian Department of Home Affairs website does not provide an estimated processing time, and where it does, the wait is sometimes shown in decades rather than weeks or months. This is another reason to check with a team of immigration solicitors as they will be able to give you a realistic expectation of processing time given your circumstances, allowing you to make an informed decision as to which route to choose.

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