Demand for Family Visas in Australia Continues to Grow

by Ray Clancy on February 16, 2015

in Australia, Australia Immigration, General Information

Demand for family visas in Australia has continued to grow and as a result there have been some major changes to these types of visas.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s annual report shows that in the 2013/2014 financial year the total number of family visas granted increased by 1.54%.

The biggest increase was in the parent (non contributor) steam which saw applications rise by 4.65% while partner visas were up by 3.08%. There was no change for child visas and parent (contributory) visas.

family overseas

In the 2013/2014 financial year the total number of family visas granted increased by 1.54%

In recognition of this demand, the planning level for the family stream was set at 60,885 visas for 2013/2014 and a major change was the removal of the additional 4,000 family stream places allocated to applicants seeking family reunion under the regular Migration Programme. These were allocated to the Family stream in 2012/2013 as a result of a recommendation of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

In 2012/2013, some 1,066 places were granted to IMA-sponsored family members and the remaining 2934 places were filled by applications from the Migration Programme partner category pipeline. Before the removal of the 4,000 places in December 2013, 1159 visas were granted to IMA-sponsored family members in 2013/2014.

There was another major change in December 2013 when the Immigration Minister used his powers under section 499 of the Migration Act 1958 (Migration Act) to introduce priority processing. This gives lowest priority to family stream visa applications sponsored by permanent residents who arrived as IMAs.

The annual report says that it forms part of the government’s overall efforts to combat people smuggling and will help to sustain public confidence in the fairness of family migration.

Under this direction, someone who enters Australia illegally by boat cannot gain an unfair advantage over those who arrive lawfully. The direction applies to applicants up until such time as the sponsor acquires Australian citizenship.

The department uses a number of measures to ensure the integrity of the family stream, including risk matrices for decision makers, document verification processes, interviews with applicants and/or their sponsors, home visits, liaison with other government agencies, and monitoring of emerging trends and risks.

‘The family stream of the Migration Programme provides for the permanent migration of certain family members to Australia, in recognition of the social benefits associated with family unity. Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens are able to sponsor their family members through the family stream, where priority is given to partners, including fiancés, and dependent children,’ the report explains.

In June 2014 the non-contributory parent visas (subclasses 804 and 103) and other family visas including Carer (subclasses 836 and 116), Remaining Relative (subclasses 835 and 115) and Aged Dependent Relative (subclasses 838 and 114) visas, were repealed.

‘Due to the high number of applications in comparison to the limited places available, these visas had extensive waiting periods and were ultimately unsustainable. The waiting times for the ongoing processing of applications received before the repeal is up to 30 years for a non-contributory parent visa, six years for Carer visas, and 25 years for Aged Dependent Relative and Remaining Relative visas,’ the report explains.

‘The changes are in line with the government’s commitment to a Migration Programme that meets the needs of a modern Australia, balancing the important economic and social contribution of migrants with the desire for family reunion. A person applying for a permanent skilled visa can include their partner, dependent children and dependent parent in the same application. Where a parent is not dependent they can subsequently be sponsored under the contributory parent visa category,’ it adds.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

lawrence March 11, 2015 at 2:22 am

I need a clearification on this immediate brother is a citizen and have been studying in Australia for two years it possible for him to sponsor me for a permanent residency?


Bloodymary July 23, 2015 at 7:46 am

Guys, anyone have experience with immigration officers inadequacy (appears as basic stupidity from my view)? Would be any point to take the case to a local federal MP office?
European migration center in London tells on the phone one thing that:
a) While we are waiting for “partner visa 309” to be processed for AU$ 4680 we can apply for a “tourist” visa for up to 6 or 12 months and probably get compulsory medicals combined.
b) After payment of additional AU$135 fee, some immigration pen-pusher claims to reach a conclusion on refusing to issue a tourist visa to a married partner of Australian citizen as alleged “risk” of not complying with visa condition and in the letter advises on the option to take this case to Administrative Tribunal.
c) Anyone else was referred to Admin. tribunal? I see no reason to keep feeding up the silks or another lot in the long chain of taxpayer paid mob.
d) Anyone tried to use public media to bring commonly known absence of ability to think straight and constant attempts to justify their existence on public payroll by immigration bludgers in foreign embassies?
e) My partner is worried that if I lodge a proper fight to fix this problem, immigration clerks would deliberately delay processing of partner visa on some petty excuses or requests to cross the “T” or dot the “I”.
Am I right in any of listed above questions?


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