It is common knowledge that an Australian Parent Visa, whichever Subclass it may fall under, has perhaps the most uncertain processing times, often leading to visa backlogs, i.e., staying stuck in a queue of “yet to-be-processed’’ visas. And while the non-contributory parent visas can take up to 30 years of stringent processing stages, even the contributory visas might miss out on their projected timeline of processing due to capping and queuing.
One major immigration challenge faced by the previous Liberal Australian government under the Scott Morrison regime was that 120,000 parent visas were still in the queue as of early 2022.
Post-pandemic implications did not help either as the Australian immigration department under the liberal regime struggled to provide clarity and positive feedback on when these parent visas will see the light of the day. The visa applicants in the waiting line are mostly aged parents living outside of Australia, separated from their children living onshore.
As Anthony Albanese was elected to office as the new Prime Minister of Australia by the end of this past May, the immigration industry was eager to notice immigration policy changes aimed at tackling this visa backlog situation inherited by the new Labour regime from the previous Liberal government. One positive change made by the Prime Minister was his appointing Andrew Giles as the new Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs on June 1st. Immediate action followed as Andrew Giles directed the Department of Home Affairs to begin the processing of all visas that are stuck in this backlog as a top priority.
To put this parent visa backlog situation into perspective, although the ideal processing timeline for a Contributory Parent Visa is 65 months, in a good chunk of cases the processing times may exceed 16 years. For Aged Parent Visas the waiting extends far longer.
One of the aims of the Australian government is to slow down the cumulative aging of the Australian populace. Accepting higher numbers of elderly foreign nationals is counterintuitive to that purpose; that is, a sharp percentage rise in the elderly population increases the speed at which the entire population reaches old age. To avoid such long-term implications, the Department of Home Affairs follows very methodical processing phases to filter the right elderly demographic that will serve the long-term goals that are idealised for the Australian population.
The implications of such stringent processing methods, that too in the light of post-pandemic sentiments, has shown up in interesting numbers. Of the 13,590 parent visa applications during 2017-2018, the approved number of visas were 7,956 (~58.5 %), and against the 13,246 applications during 2018-2019, the approval rate was roughly 59%. These consistencies in approval rates were inevitably challenged at the onset of Covid-19 and the post-pandemic period as only 5,273 (~41 %) against the 12,664 applications were processed in 2019-2020, followed by 5,047 (~34%) visas processed against the 14,827 applications during 2020-2021.
A series of campaigns run by the children of backlogged parent visa applicants demanded that the DHA should take initiative to process their parents’ visas at the earliest. These campaigns were met with positive reinforcements from the Labour Party pre-election. One of the strongest and most popular pre-election talking points of the Labor Party was their promise to craft more immigrant-friendly policies.
Andrew Giles, having a reputation for campaigning against visa processing delays, has already started making administrative decisions upon being appointed as the Minister of Immigration. Soliciting for the cutting down of visa processing delays, Andrew Giles’ directives are very much consistent with Labour Party’s ideologies of enhancing skilled and business migration also, as it makes sense that more skilled migrant workers would want to bring their parents over to Australia. Numerous prominent campaigners against parent visa processing delays have reportedly voiced their approval for such an administrative initiative and believe they now have reason to be more hopeful about reuniting with their parents.
With the current scenario of parent visas being such, it might present an uphill journey for the DHA to process such great numbers of backlogged parent visas, however, the administrative enforcements undertaken by this new Labour regime seems to show promise of bringing more parents of other nationality onshore and gradually make Australian PR and Citizenship a more exciting process for applicants of parent visa, contributory and non-contributory alike.
If you need help in applying for an Australian parent visa, do not hesitate to contact us. Choosing the right type of parent visa is important because some are expensive while some have a pretty long processing time. We have 17 years of experience in Australian immigration and visa consultancy. We know what’s the best option for you.