26 April 2019: Immigration will no doubt play a key role in the upcoming general election as it is an extremely important subject not only for the migrant communities living across Australia but also for Australians at large.
Immigrants, specially those from South Asian and South East Asian backgrounds, rely heavily on their parents’ ability to come to Australia and stay for an extended period of time so that these senior members of their families can help them raise their young families. It also allows parents to be close to their children as they struggle to gain foothold in a new country. Due to busy work commitments and a variety of other factors, migrant families often cannot do without the support of their parents from back home.
So what are the two major parties offering vis-a-vis parent visas?
The offers have been laid out in the last few days, plain and simple.
Liberal Party’s “sensible, economically responsible new visa that allows parents to come to Australia for up to 10 years” is open to only 15,000 parents per year. On the other hand, Labor promises to get rid of the 15,000 per year cap which effectively means an “unlimited number” of parents could come to Australia.
According to Labor’s immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann, a Labor government’s “fairer Long Stay Parent visa will allow parents and in-laws to reunite with their families and let all grandparents spend quality time with their grand-kids”. However, Liberals’ Sponsored Parent (Temporary) subclass 870 allows only one set of parents per household which Labor terms “the most heartless, callous and cruel condition”.
Mr Neumann promised on April 22 that a Shorten Government will ensure that the fee for a 5-year visa is only $2500 but Liberals’ fee is significantly higher for the same period of time – $10,000. The fee for the 3-year visa for Labor and Liberal are $1250 and $5000 respectively.
Labor’s promised long stay parent visa allows for both parents or in-laws to stay in Australia for a period of up to 10 years – without having to leave the country. But Liberals’ Temporary visa allows parents to stay in Australia for up to five years. However, they can apply for another five year extension after exiting the country for a short time.
“There are currently more than 97,000 people seeking various kinds of permanent parent visas to Australia,” immigration minister David Coleman said in his April 22 press statement, “These programs are carefully managed to ensure that the number of visas granted are sustainable for the Australian economy and population growth.”
Mr Coleman warned that Labor’s new visa policy (with absolutely no limit to the number of people who can enter the country for up to 10 years) is not a “sensible immigration program, or population policy”.
Labor’s shadow immigration spokesperson on the other hand calls Liberals’ Temporary Sponsored Parent visa a “broken promise to Australia’s migrant and multicultural communities and proof Scott Morrison cannot be trusted”. Labor’s fairer Long Stay Parent visa will be more affordable for families, Shayne Neumann reminded Australia’s migrant communities.
“Labor knows that modern Australia and multicultural Australia are the same thing – which is why we value families being able to spend time together and help each other,” he said in a recent press statement.