My parents have been spending 3 months in Australia for the last 11 years, ever since I moved here from the UK to marry my Australian husband. We have no other family in WA.
After years of trying to work out which visa options were available to them, they decided to apply for a Contributory Parent visa (143) in early 2020. Aware of the major financial commitment of $5,555 for the initial application, another $87,200 when granted, and $14,000 for Assurance of Support. Prepared to pay their way.
We did our research thoroughly online and then spoke with three different agents (at an additional fee each time) to make sure we fully understood what we commit to and what we had to do. When we submitted their application in May 2020, the Immigration website said the expected wait time was 52 months (4 years and 4 months).
Since then the following has occurred:
- The parent visa allocation has been significantly reduced, again. (Around 40% less than the previous year)
- The government immigration website has been updated to show a wait time of 58 months (4 years 10 months – in June 2020) – still grossly untrue, see next point
- As of June 2020, the number of parents in the queue was around 60,000, so with current planning levels, we’re looking at a best-case scenario of around 8 years wait, which is not in line with the government-supplied information we were given when we applied. People are still applying with the expectation that their parents will be able to move to Australia in 58 months!
- Things are even worse for the parent subclass 103, where processing times are upwards of 30 years, meaning that these families have very little chance to ever reunite.
My ageing parents, like thousands of others, do not have time on their side. The separation is causing massive stress, anxiety and heartache on both sides. Whilst I understand the pandemic has a lot to answer for, this cloak and dagger approach to this is unfair. Had we known we were in for an 8 – 10 year wait, we would not have applied for this visa and looked for an alternative option. If we do that now, we lose the fees already paid and go back to the start of the queue. $5,555 isn’t an insignificant amount of money.
My husband and I are reaching the stage where we are seriously considering leaving Australia for good, as we cannot see another way to ensure we can care for our parents when the time comes.