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.