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Should Australia implement lottery system for Parent Visa category?

Australia is reviewing its migration system and contemplating various reform options for the Parents Visa category in an effort to address the growing backlog of applications.

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Australia is reviewing its migration system and contemplating various reform options for the Parents Visa category, in an effort to address the growing backlog of applications. Among the changes being considered are the implementation of a lottery system and the introduction of more affordable temporary short-stay parent visas. These proposed reforms aim to alleviate the financial burden and lengthy processing times currently associated with parent visas.

The Subclass 143 Contributory Parent Visa is a popular choice for parents seeking permanent residency in Australia. However, this visa requires a significant financial commitment, with a current cost of $47,755 per applicant. The processing time for this visa can range from 2 to 3 years, prompting the interest in a parent visa lottery system as a potential solution to expedite the process.

According to Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neill, the cost of supporting parent visa holders throughout their lifetime significantly outweighs the visa fees. O’Neill stated, “A parent, on average, costs $400,000 over their lifetime due to their high use of government-funded services and limited taxes paid.” As a result, the backlog of parental visa applications has surged from approximately 35,000 in 2010 to 120,000 in 2022, while the number of available parental visas remained capped at 8,500 per year. A maximum of 6,800 visas may be granted for the 2022/23 financial year.

Navneet Mittal, Vice-President – Asian International Students of Australia (AISA), commented on the potential implementation of a parent visa lottery system, stating, “The lottery system is implemented in both the UK and USA for immigration purposes, and it presents a complex issue. If used solely to expedite applications, it can effectively address the backlog and speed up the process. However, if used indiscriminately, it risks jeopardizing people’s lives.”

AISA vice-president Navneet Mittal says, fairness is very important while implementing changes to Parents Visa system.
AISA vice-president Navneet Mittal says, fairness is very important while implementing changes to Parents Visa system. (Photo: Supplied)

Mittal emphasised the importance of conducting proper background checks and categorising individuals based on skills and qualifications before conducting the lottery to ensure a more meaningful contribution to society.

The Subclass 870 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa offers an alternative to the Subclass 143 visa. This temporary visa allows parents to stay in Australia for up to three or five years, depending on the chosen duration.

With an application fee of $5,000 per applicant, this option is less expensive and less complex, making it appealing for those who wish to spend time with their children in Australia without seeking permanent residency.

Jasvinder Sidhu, Founder of the Long Stay Visa for Parents campaign, highlighted the perceived unfairness of the Australian parents visa system compared to other countries like Canada. Sidhu pointed out that the current system fails to consider the cultural and family values of new and emerging communities, where parents are integral to the family unit.

Sidhu pointed out that the current system fails to consider the cultural and family values of new and emerging communities, where parents are integral to the family unit.
Jasvinder Sidhu pointed out that the current system fails to consider the cultural and family values of new and emerging communities, where parents are integral to the family unit. (Photo: Supplied)

Sidhu stated, “The parents visa system is often influenced by economic and political considerations, and without active engagement from new communities in the policy-making process, truly fair reforms are unlikely.”

Sidhu expressed support for the proposed reforms by the Labor government and pledged to advocate for better and fairer parents visa reforms.

“I support the reforms proposed by the Labor government and will continue to advocate to Andrew Giles and Julian Hill for better and fairer parents visa reforms as I have actively done since Labor got elected in 2022,” he said.

In addition to the existing parent visa options, Australia has introduced the 10-year parent visa. This visa allows parents to visit their children in Australia for extended periods of up to 10 years without seeking permanent residency. Priced at AUD 10,000 per applicant, the 10-year parent visa has gained popularity among individuals seeking longer visits with their children.

Neha Sandhu, an advocate for family rights, emphasizes the pivotal role parents play in the family structure and as a support system, particularly in working-class families where they provide essential care for young children.

Sandhu believes that the current short-term temporary visas are expensive and have time constraints, suggesting that reform should make these options more affordable to benefit a greater number of families. Regarding the proposed lottery system, Sandhu raises concerns about fairness to families who have been waiting for a considerable time and suggests the implementation of fast-track options to address the backlog.

As the government reviews Australia’s migration system, the proposed reforms in the migration system aim to strike a balance between reducing the backlog and creating a more equitable and accessible process. The final decisions on the reforms will shape the future of parent visas in Australia and potentially offer a solution to the challenges faced by many families separated by international borders.

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