It’s a good news to the parents of Australian permanent residents and Australian citizens. All those parents who want to spend time with their children or grand children from 24 November 2012, have a chance to apply for Tourist (Subclass 676) visas to visit Australia for longer duration. These changes will allow parents who meet the criteria for the Tourist visa to have regular extended visits with their family in Australia without needing to apply for a new visa on each visit
To be granted a Tourist visa, applicants must meet all requirements including health, character, having sufficient funds and satisfying the decision maker that they intend a genuine visit and will comply with relevant visa conditions.
This provision is not available for siblings and other family member of Australian citizens and permanent residents.
The department has created a provision in the policy to provide multiple entry visas with a maximum stay of 12 months will be considered on a case- by-case basis with maximum validity periods of up to:
- five years for parents outside Australia and in the Parent (subclass103) visa queue
- three years for parents outside Australia who have:
- had a previous Australian visa and complied with the conditions; and
- have not applied for a Parent visa; or
- have applied for a Parent (subclass 103) visa but are not yet in the Parent visa queue
- 18 months for parents who have:
- not previously traveled to Australia; and
- have not applied for a Parent visa; or
- have applied for a Parent (subclass 103) visa but are not yet in the Parent visa queue.
Applicants who are not eligible
Longer Tourist visas will not be available to other family members like partners or children who have existing permanent visa options with shorter queues.
This provision will not be available to those parents who’s visa has previously been refused for Tourist visa, unless their circumstances have changed.
Tourist visas are not intended for maintaining ongoing residence in Australia. Accordingly, longer Tourist visas will not be considered for parents who:
- are already in Australia; or
- have already spent 12 months in Australia in the last 18 months.
If you have recently stayed in Australia for an extended period, you will generally not be considered for a longer Tourist visa until you have spent a minimum of 6 months outside Australia in the last 18 months at the time you apply for a new Tourist visa.
For example, if you have spent the last 12 months in Australia, you should wait for 6 months before applying for a new visa if you wish to be considered under these arrangements.
Visa holders who do not comply with the conditions of their visa will have a risk of their visa being cancelled and in some cases being subject to exclusion periods from Australia. Compliance with visa conditions will also be considered in any future visa application.
In addition to standard Tourist visa conditions, parents granted longer Tourist visas will also be subject to the following conditions which are discussed below:
- maximum 12 months stay in any 18 month period
- health insurance
- no further stay.
Period of stay in Australia – maximum 12 month stay in 18 months
Parents who are granted a visa under these arrangements will have a visa condition which strictly limits their stay in Australia to no more than 12 months in any 18 month period.
Visa holders may visit Australia on multiple occasions while their visa is valid but must not stay in Australia for more than 12 months continually or a total of 12 months in any 18 month period. This means, for example, that if you stay in Australia for 12 months continually, you must then spend 6 months outside Australia before returning.
Your visa will automatically cease if you spend more than 12 months continually in Australia.
Parents granted longer Tourist visas will be required to maintain adequate health insurance while in Australia.
Reciprocal health arrangements are not adequate to meet this requirement.
You may be requested to provide evidence that you hold 12 months’ health insurance cover if you are considered for a longer Tourist visa under these arrangements.
If you apply for another visa in the future, you may be asked to provide evidence that you held health insurance while in Australia on this visa.
The health insurance cover:
- can be with any Australian insurer or reputable overseas insurer
- doesn’t need to be with a specialist health insurance company
- can include an excess and standard ‘pre-existing condition’ clauses
- must be fully comprehensive (that is, it must provide at least Medicare equivalent cover including hospital, emergency, general practitioner and pharmaceutical benefits).