Family Members and Marriage for Expats in Australia

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: July 2013

It is not always possible for an immigrant to bring their spouse (husband or wife) and family along with them when they migrate to a new country. As a result, many migrants spend years working abroad, often sending money to the home country to help support their family. Such migrants may choose to bring the family over to the new country once they have gained permanent residence in Australia.

As Australia is remote from most of the rest of the world, it can be particularly difficult to keep contact with family members abroad. It can therefore be quite a wrench for a family if one family member decides to emigrate to Australia. Visits to and from them are likely to be infrequent. As a result, other family members may want to join their loved ones in Australia.

In order to immigrate to Australia as an additional family member, you must be sponsored by family member who is either an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. Note that, until 26 February 2001, a New Zealander living in Australia for more than 12 months were automatically considered a permanent resident of Australia.

Australia is a highly desirable place to live in. To a certain extent, the government can choose who gets in and who doesn’t. Young, highly employable people are much more likely to be allowed in than older people with fewer employment prospects.

Hence, parent visas for permanent residence are particularly hard to come by. Until recently, there were only 1,000 places for parents with one of these visas. Even though there are now 5,000 settlement places for parents, there is still a long waiting list. To circumvent this, you can apply for a Contributory Parent visa, providing you can pay the visa fee of A$25,000 plus a bond of a further A$10,000.

Another requirement for a Parent visa is the ‘balance of family test’. This test is based on the number of your children who are qualifying Australian residents In order to qualify, either of the following must be true:

If you are not a parent or spouse, you can apply using a Remaining Relative visa.

There are three types of residence visa for partners of qualifying Australian residents,. The Fiancé(e) or Prospective Marriage visa is for you if you are engaged to one of the above persons. The resident fiancé(e) sponsors you for temporary residence for up to 9 months, The marriage must take place during this time. After you are married, you can apply for a Spouse visa.

You need a Spouse visa if you want to move to Australia to live with your husband or wife, either legally enshrined or common law (if for at least 12 months).  If you are granted a Spouse visa, you will be eligible to live in Australia for two years with full rights to work. You may then be eligible to apply for permanent residence.

An Interdependent visa is for you if you have a committed relationship to another person. This visa is generally used by those in same-sex partnerships. The visa is valid for two years, after which, if the relationship is still thriving, you may apply for a permanent visa.




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