Migration | calls to increase fees for parent contributory visas

The purpose of this article is to discuss the Productivity Commission’s report entitled “Migrant Intake into Australia” and the Australian Financial Review article published on 12 September 2016 describing the findings of that report.  A publicly accessible copy of the Productivity Commission’s report is available here.

On 12 September 2016, the AFR reported that the Commission has urged the Government to “double the $55,000 fee for parent reunion visas“.

The maximum contributory parent visa fee for one parent (with no dependents) is currently around $47,295 (or in the Commission’s words, “just under $50,000“).

The Productivity Commission’s reference to “$55,000” was made in relation to assessing a proposal to adopt an unprecedented price-based model for all non-humanitarian immigration into Australia:

“…under the proposal the Commission has been asked to assess, a single price would be charged for all immigrants (outside the humanitarian stream), determined either through a tender, an auction or by government. It would replace the current plethora of different visa classes, fees and charges, as well as the current administrative selection mechanisms, although current character, health and security checks would be retained. Under this price-based proposal, immigrants’ access to government services would also be tightened relative to the present system.”

[See pp 16-17 of the Productivity Commission’s Report]

Recommendation 13.8 sets out the Productivity Commission’s proposals concerning parent visas.  It suggests the Government “increase substantially the charge for contributory parent visas” and the body of the Report suggests that fees could be “roughly doubled” (see p 483).

Conclusions

In our view, it would be difficult to justify broad-sweeping amendments to the existing contributory parent visa framework without more detailed and comprehensive cost-benefit studies.

Insight: we think there is a remote risk the Government will “double” the existing fee as suggested by the AFR but cannot rule it out entirely given the current trend in Federal and State taxation policies which seek to impose a greater tax burden on foreign residents; the more likely outcome will be an increase in the upfront visa charges and new measures to cap other benefits (such as Medicare access and compulsory private health insurance) in conjunction with other fiscal claw-back measures.

Individuals whose parents are considering migrating to Australia may wish to consider the feasibility of lodging such applications before the Government enacts substantial amendments to this particular class of visas.

Disclaimer

This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular visa applications or on matters of interest arising from this article.

 


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