Longer Tourist Visas for Parents of Australian Citizens & Permanent Residents

The proposed Longer Tourist visas for parents of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents which was announced by the Minister on 4 September 2012 will probably be one of the changes to commence on 24 November 2012.

Towards the end of 2012, parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to apply for Tourist visas to visit Australia for longer.

Under this arrangement recently announced by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, the department will consider granting on a case-by-case basis:

  • Tourist visas of up to five years' validity which provide a stay of up to 12 months on each entry to those parents who are outside Australia and are in the Parent (subclass 103) visa queue
  • Tourist visas of up to three years' validity with 12 months' stay on each entry will be considered for parents who are outside Australia and are not in the Parent visa queue.

These changes will allow parents who meet the criteria for a Tourist visa to have regular extended visits with their family in Australia without needing to apply for a new visa on each visit.

Under these more flexible arrangements, in addition to meeting all other Tourist visa requirements, parents will be expected to hold health insurance to cover any healthcare costs during their stay and will have a visa condition limiting applications for further visas while they are in Australia.
Like all tourists, parents granted Tourist visas are expected to maintain extended periods of absence between visits to Australia.

The department is making changes to implement these arrangements by the end of 2012.

Work and Holiday visa for Eastern Europe and Israel

Minister Bowen has announced on 13 Nov 2012, talks with several governments to establish Work and Holiday visa arrangements, namely: the Czech Republic; Hungary; Israel; Latvia; Poland; and the Slovak Republic.
No agreements are expected soon, but once established, nationals of each of the above countries between 18 and 30 years of age will be able to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months, and reciprocal arrangements will allow Australian travellers similar access.
Currently, reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangements have been reached with Argentina; Bangladesh; Chile; Indonesia; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Thailand; Turkey; and the United States.

Onshore partner visa waiting period is now getting longer

The onshore partner visa program is experiencing strong demand, and as a result, the current average processing time for subclass 820 applications (spouse or partner visa) is around 13 months from lodgement. This is an average processing time and the actual processing time for each application may vary significantly.

To ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible the Department of Immigration and Citizenship request that applications are only lodged when they are complete, including health and character checks.  

Generally, applications are considered in date order but some applications will take longer to finalise than others. Applications which will be prioritised include those which have been remitted following successful review or Ministerial Intervention, and applications which have special circumstances of a compelling and compassionate nature.

Applications which may be decided more quickly include those involving family violence, and those which are "assessment ready" at lodgement.

Following a successful campaign to encourage "assessment ready" cases, the Department now have a considerable number on hand and can no longer guarantee that all "assessment ready" applications will be processed more quickly.