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More parents to be reunited with family in Australia.



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Philip Ruddock MP MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

More Parents to Be Reunited With Family in Australia

MPS 12/2003

The way has been cleared for an additional 4,000 parent migrants to be reunited with their family in Australia each year the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Philip Ruddock said today.

Legislation proposed by the Government has been passed by the Senate today and will come into effect in the new financial year.

'The significant increase over the current 500 parent visa places meets our election commitment for more parent migrants whose sponsors are willing to meet a fairer share of their health and welfare costs,' Mr Ruddock said.

3,500 of the additional places will be for a new visa that will allow parents to contribute to these costs. An additional 500 places will be available under the existing parent visa category that has lesser charges. With a total of 4,500 places, the measures will help to reduce the queue waiting for a parent visa.

Applicants for the new contributory parent visa will pay a health charge of $25,000 per adult to apply directly for a permanent visa. There will also be an option for applicants to spread payments by initially paying a $15,000 first instalment. This would allow parents to apply for a two year temporary visa with access to Medicare and full work rights.

At any point during this two year period, parents can apply for a permanent visa by paying the remaining $10,000 health charge and lodging a $10,000 Assurance of Support bond ($14,000 for a couple) to help cover any social security costs in the first 10 years of permanent residence.

Applicants will be able to transfer, without a further first visa application charge, from the existing parent visa pipeline to the new contributory arrangements and will receive priority processing.

'My department will be writing to all current parent applicants and their sponsors to inform them of the new arrangements,' Mr Ruddock said.

Parents residing outside Australia will be able to lodge an application for one of the new contributory parent visas from 27 June 2003, while parents residing in Australia will be able to lodge an application for a contributory parent visa from 1 July 2003.

Mr Ruddock thanked Senator Bartlett of the Australian Democrats, for his support for the package.

Further information on the new arrangements is available from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs' website www.immi.gov.au.

5 March 2003