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Limit in offshore preferential family visas met for 1997-98



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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144

MPS 31/98

Limit In Offshore Preferential Family Visas Met For 1997-98

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today announced that the limit on the number of visas granted overseas in the Preferential Family subclass has been reached.

The Preferential Family Subclass is a permanent entry visa class which comprises the four categories of orphan relative, special need relative, aged dependent relative and remaining relative.

The Government had set a total allocation of 1,700 places for Preferential Family applicants in the 1997-98 Migration Program.

"Of this number a total of 1,280 places had been allocated for applications lodged overseas (subclass 104) and those places have now been filled," Mr Ruddock said.

"Another 420 places had been allocated for processing in Australia and I expect that allocation to be filled shortly.

"In reducing the overall size of the Migration Program and restoring the balance between skilled and family streams, the Government had to set caps on certain categories of migration.

“It’s unfortunate that in reviewing immigration department decisions the courts have widened the application of the Special Needs Relative category of the Preferential Family subclass to include, in some instances, people whose claims emanate largely from homesickness.

“This has meant that the number of applications in this category has grown significantly, contributing to the Government’s need to cap this category and delaying bona fide applicants”.

The Minister said while the cap has been reached, outstanding applications will continue to be processed and, if they meet all criteria, they will be queued for visa grants as places become available in future programs.

"The Government does recognise the special compassionate circumstances of orphan relatives who require the support of their families in Australia.

“This category of the Preferential Family subclass has been exempted from the effects of the cap and they will continue to be granted visas this year if they are assessed as meeting all the necessary criteria."

Tuesday, 24 March 1998

Media inquiries: Brad Robinson (02) 6277 7860 or 0419 278 715

Immigration information is also available on the Internet at www.immi.gov.au