On 21 March 2023 a three-person panel – announced by the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Clare O’Neil MP – presented the Review of the Migration System Final Report to the Government. It carried out a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system to ensure it better meets existing challenges and sets a clear direction for the coming decades.

The Panel:

The Panel

  • Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSMChancellor of Macquarie University and has served as the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Secretary to the Treasury.
  • Professor Joanna Howe – A Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide and a leading expert on the legal regulation of temporary labour migration.
  • Mr John Azarias – A former senior partner at Deloitte in Sydney who has carried out reviews commissioned by the Commonwealth Government in the areas of Defence, Immigration, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Agriculture.

The report states that the demand for family migration has been much greater than the places available. Not meeting demand has created lengthy and untenable backlogs. In the 2022-23 Migration Program, 52,500 places are available for the Family visa program, including 40,500 Partner, 8,500 Parent, 3,000 Child, and 500 other family visa places.

The allocation of places for the Parent and Other Family visas has been tightly capped for many years. This has created very high levels of unmet demand for places and a large and growing backlog of applications. Between 2010 and 2022,  the backlog of Parent visa applications increased from about 35,000 to 120,000, with some visa applicants facing wait times of 30 to 50 years.

table listing visa cost for parents

The Panel says that, “A waiting period of 30-50 years, given the likely age of many parents, makes the probability of successful migration virtually non-existent for many applicants. Providing an opportunity for people to apply for a visa that will probably never come seems both cruel and unnecessary.

Successive governments have chosen to limit the places available for permanent visa for parents because of their large negative economic and fiscal impact in the context of an ageing Australian population. The Treasury has estimated that each parent permanent migrant costs $393,000 over their remaining lifetime in Australia.

The Federation of Indian Associations in Victoria Inc. says, “[The Government should] see parents’ visas as an opportunity for a support system for youth migrants in Australia … parents (elderly) migrate to support young families (young professional migrants with children) potentially to reduce the burden on childcare facilities, school before/after care, and professional growth of both youth parents.

The Panel acknowledges that Parent migrants contribute in ways that are not reflected in Treasury’s analysis. Census data indicates about 24 per cent of Parent visa holders provide childcare to their grandchildren, which may also provide some economic benefits in allowing their child to re-enter the workforce.

The Panel also suggests possible reform options to the government:

  • A lottery approach could prevent visa backlogs.
  • The Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa (SPTV) can be improved.
  • Removing access to permanent residence for parents while improving access to temporary migration.

If you would like to have a detailed discussion about Parent Visa, please call us at  +61 415 882 542.