The Australian Government is to introduce a new temporary visa for parents of Australians, it has been confirmed, with a start date of July 2017 pencilled in.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has launched a consultation process and is inviting members of the public to provide their views.

FamilyDuring the recent general election campaign the Government promised to enhance existing visa arrangements to enable sponsored parents to visit their family in Australia for a continuous period of up to five years.

'The Australian Government believes that parents should have the opportunity to visit children and grandchildren who live in Australia as long as parents and their sponsors can satisfy community expectations and that their stay in Australia does not have an undue cost impact on the Australian community,' said a DIBP spokesman.

'While several visa options are already available for parents to spend time with their family in Australia, community feedback indicates that a fresh approach should be considered,' he explained.

But he pointed out that the introduction of such a visa is a significant shift from current visa options for parents. 'It raises a number of issues around our communities and the nature of services to support these visitors. The Government is seeking community input to help shape the development of the visa,' he added.

People can make a written submission on the development of a temporary stay parent visa, or on issues raised by sending an email to: [email protected] Submissions should be made by midnight on Monday 31 October 2016 and any received after this deadline might not be considered.

Currently there are limited visa places available for extended family members, such as parents. Up to 8,675 will be made available for parents in 2016/2017, but the DIBP points out that demand is greater than available places and annual limit is imposed.

'The Government acknowledges the value of family migration and recognises that parents provide a range of benefits to their families and community. However, for the past two decades, it has been necessary for the Government to limit the number of permanent migration places available to parents,' said the spokesman.

'These limits recognise the challenges Australia must face due to an ageing population, as well as the overall budget impact of older migrants. The limits also reflect the Government's priority of providing visa pathways for the children and partners of Australians, as well as the need to target young skilled migrants to maximise the economic benefits of migration,' he added.

Currently is it proposed that all applicants for the new visa would undertake medical examinations with the aim of not being a burden to the Australian health system and would need to take out adequate health insurance from an Australian provider.

They would also need to be sponsored by their child who would have to be able to support the parent if necessary and the visa would entitle them to stay for up to five years and apply for a five year renewal.