A person posing for a picture with parents - Australia Wait Times Stretch to 40 Years for Parents A person posing for a picture with parents - Australia Wait Times Stretch to 40 Years for Parents


Australian Family Reunion Wait Times Stretch to 40 Years for Parents


Australia's parent migration system has come under fire in recent years due to its dysfunctional nature, which causes parents who want to reunite with their children to have to wait a very long period. Families are negotiating the convoluted visa procedure with great difficulty because wait durations can be up to 40 years. 

The Conundrum of Parent Migration

In Australia, there are two main types of parent visas: "contributory" visas and "non-contributory" visas. The former calls for a sizeable financial payment of around 50,000 AUD per person, which is justified by the claim that these parents will cover the expense of any future public services they could need. 

However, the Productivity Commission's experts disagree with this reasoning, pointing out that the income earned only just covers any costs these parents would incur, particularly for health services, especially when the country is constantly facing health care professionals shortage.

Contributory Visa

Contributory visas initially offered wealthy families a quicker processing alternative, but the soaring demand has resulted in significant backlogs. The Home Affairs Department reports that the wait times for these visas remain at least 12 years and might perhaps be as long as 15 years, despite the government virtually doubling the quota in 2022.

Non-Contributory Visa

Non-contributory visas, on the other hand, have even lower caps and, as a result, longer wait times. Since there were only 1,500 spots available last year, candidates may have to wait more than 29 years, as predicted by Home Affairs, or possibly more than 40 years, as experts advise.

Proposed Solution: The Ballot System

The adoption of a parent migration ballot system, like the ones Canada and New Zealand have, has been suggested by experts and certain politicians. 

Through this method, families can indicate their interest in sponsoring a parent or grandparent's migration to Australia during a certain time period each year. The annual intake quota is then filled by a random selection of names made by immigration authorities, removing the arbitrary waiting system and decreasing uncertainty.

This strategy still has issues even though it seems more equitable than the two-tiered system that exists right now, where wealthy families benefit from quicker processing. Given the remote chances of winning the visa lottery, many families could choose to settle and make plans for their future in Australia instead of relying entirely on hope and dreams.


Are there alternative paths to family reunions in Australia?

Depending on their particular circumstances, families may also look at partner visas, dependent child visas, or ageing parent visas in addition to parent visa choices.

If a family's visa application is denied or delayed, can families appeal the decision or ask for a review?

Yes, families may have the choice to appeal or request a review of the decision if a visa application is denied or is subject to lengthy delays. An appeal must be filed through this process with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or other appropriate authorities.


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