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An increased number of Family Visas to Australia will be granted in FY2011-2012

The contents of this article are correct as at 30 June 2011.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, has announced that the number of visas granted under various parent and family visa programs will be increased by 16% to 10,700 for the 2011 – 2012 financial year.

The 2011-2012 Financial Year Caps

The maximum numbers in FY 2011-2012 are as follows:

VISA PROGRAM & SUBCLASS

FY2010-11 Cap (number)

FY2011-12 Cap (number)

Change

PARENT

Aged Parent – ONSHORE

Parent  - OFFSHORE

(Subclass 804)

(Subclass 103)

1,000

2,010

101%

CONTRIBUTORY PARENT

Contributory Parent - OFFSHORE

Contributory  Parent – ONSHORE

Contributory Aged Parent – ONSHORE

Contributory Aged Parent (temp) – ONSHORE

(Subclass 173)

(Subclass 143)

(Subclass 864)

(Subclass 884)

7,500

7,400

-1%

OTHER FAMILY VISAS

 

Aged Dependent Relative - OFFSHORE

Aged Dependent Relative – ONSHORE

Carer - OFFSHORE

Carer – ONSHORE

Remaining Relative - OFFSHORE

Remaining Relative – ONSHORE

(Subclass 114)

(Subclass 838)

(Subclass 116)

(Subclass 836)

(Subclass 115)

(Subclass 835)

750

1,290

72%

TOTAL

9,250

10,700

16%

These figures indicate the maximum number of visas that can be granted across each of the three programs.

For instance, the combined total of Aged Parent and Parent visas that can be granted in the coming financial year will be 2,010.

For each of these programs, once the cap is reached no more visas in that program will be granted for the remainder of the financial year. Note that within each family visa program, visa applications are generally assessed in order of lodgement.

The cap applies to all visa applications to be decided by DIAC in the 2011-2012 financial year, regardless of whether the application was lodged before the cap takes effect.

About Family Visa Processing & Caps

The Minister of Immigration is empowered to cap the number of visas which can be granted each year in a particular visa subclass.

Note that, under law, there are some visa categories which the Minister cannot cap, including visas granted to spouses or dependent children.

For those visa programs that can be subjected to caps, DIAC advises that the cap levels are determined subject to:

  • Changes to planning levels
  • Changes in demand for a particular visa
  • Fluctuations due to visa grants, refusals and withdrawals
  • Fluctuations due to successful review cases which are given priority 

Despite the slight increase in quota, capping of family visa programs overall is consistent with the Department’s recent shift in focus towards permanent migration of people to Australia on the basis of their skills and potential contribution to the workforce, and away from family migration.

Skilled migrants qualified in occupations where Australia is experiencing a skills shortage are of particular interest and are sought under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) and the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) migration programs. By way of comparison, the skill stream intake of permanent migrants is expected to number 125,850 places in the 2011-2012 financial year.

Within the family visa program, the caps set reflect the Department’s priorities for applicants who apply to migrate under the family stream.

Higher priority is given to immediate family categories such as dependent children (including children for adoption), orphan relatives, partners and fiancés.

Lower priority is given to all other family stream applicants such as carers, remaining relatives, parents and aged dependent relatives. Within the parent migration stream, the contributory parent category has higher processing priority than the parent category.

If you have any questions concerning this article, please click this link to contact Visa Lawyers Australia.