Concerns are growing that immigrant families in Australia who want grandparents to visit face higher temporary visa costs.

Changes have been made so that couples wanting to sponsor parents will now need to earn a combined $115,475 a year, up from $45,185 while a single person will now need to be earning $86,606.

Parent Visas

(By vectorfusionart/​

The Immigration Department says that the increase has been brought in to make sure that sponsors can support their parents and themselves and is mandatory for parent, aged dependant, contributory parent and remaining relative visas.

Parent visas also require an upfront application fee, which cannot be refunded if the visa is refused, and migration agents are warning that the hike in costs will not only be too onerous for grandparents wishing to visit from overseas but also hit applications that are already in the pipeline.

Kevin Lane, president of the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), said that 'a huge number will not be able to meet the requirements for currently lodged parent visas'.

Migration agents have told the MIA that clients who have been waiting for years are now panicking after realising they no longer have the income to sponsor their parents to come to Australia.

Indeed, it is thought that tens of thousands of applicants who started the visa process before the changes were announced could be affected and may no longer be able to afford to carry on with the visa application.

They already face a long time waiting for family visas to be granted. Currently, the most popular parent visa, contributory 143, has a waiting time of two or three years and for the more restrictive non-contributory parent visa it is over 10 years.

While sponsors of the most popular visas only need to guarantee two years of welfare for their parents and put down a bond of $5,000 but there are only 1,500 places set aside for non-contributory parents this year.

But there are more than 7,000 per year for contributory parents, for which sponsors must commit to a 10-year welfare guarantee and a bond of at least $10,000.

However, from July next year the minimum bonds for the two visa streams will rise to $7,500 and $15,000 respectively.