For the first time in years, the number of visa applications by Indians living in Australia has risen by 30%. These applications were submitted by Indian-Australians residing in Australia who wish to bring their parents to the country. Currently, there is a visa restriction imposed on travellers from India because the country is battling a third wave of Covid-19 infections. However, migration agents say that, despite the high application fees for visas, many Indians who reside in Australia are still interested in bringing their parents over.
According to data obtained from the Australian Department of Home Affairs, figures show that the number of parent visa applications has risen over the last three years. For example, between January-May 2021, Indian nationals living in Australia lodged about 1,362 parent visa applications. In contrast, parent visa applications for the same period in 2020 were 1,049. For 2019, that figure was 662 and 671 in 2018.
India’s Covid Crisis
India’s current Covid crisis has made it a lot harder for Australian-Indians to bring their parents to the country. The Home Affairs stated that the pandemic crisis in India is behind its decision to reject most applications in 2020 and 2021.
Under current immigration arrangements, Australia issues permanent residency to parents of Australian citizens under two categories. The Aged Parent Visa Subclass 804 and the Parent Visa Subclass 143. Many permanent residents and Australian citizens wish to bring their parents into the country because they’ve been separated from their families for a long time due to Covid. However, according to the Migration Act of 1958, a family is defined as a spouse/de facto partner and children of a citizen or a permanent resident. Therefore, under this definition, parents are not included. This situation has led to the frustration of many citizens and permanent residents, especially those of Indian ancestry.
Stringent Application process
The Department of Home Affairs website states that the Contributory Parent visa applications that meet all the requirements must be processed within 64 months. In contrast, the Aged Parent Visa application may take up to 30 years. The Home Affairs Office has also said that the demand for parent visas has exceeded the number of slots available under the annual migration program. This has caused an upward trend in processing timeframes. So to ensure equity, all applicants under the parent visa application are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Many Indians who legally reside in Australia and wish to invite their parents have been left in limbo. With the growing Covid-19 cases in India, it appears that Australian authorities are not in a hurry to increase the number of approved visa applications. One would only hope that the covid rates across India drop soon so Australia can become more open to accepting more visitors into the country.