Labor has promised to make it easier and cheaper for parents of migrant Australians to get visas if the party wins the election.
In the policy battle before the May federal election, Labor is saying that under it’s leadership, parents of migrant Australians will find it easier and cheaper to get visas.
The party is promising to end what it calls a “cruel” system, which forces Australian families to choose which set of parents can get a visa to visit.
“Many elderly parents want to reunite with their families but have to travel to Australia as tourists—proving costly, frustrating, disruptive and exhausting as they ferry between countries,” Labor leader Bill Shorten said on April 22.
“The most heartless, callous, and cruel condition of the Liberals’ visa is that they are forcing families to choose between which parents or in-laws they reunite with by limiting the visa to one set of parents per household.”
Labor says it is planning to introduce Long Stay Parent visas, which will remove the current 15,000-place cap on parent visas, and allow families to bring both sets of parents out.
The cost would also be reduced from A$5,000 for a three-year visa to $1,250, and from $10,000 for a five-year visa to $2,500.
The Coalition government’s immigration minister, David Coleman, said last month that he was confident there would remain strong interest in the new visa regime that was introduced earlier this month, although some migrant families had expressed concerns that the conditions and cost would make it difficult for family reunions.
Coleman responded to the concerns by saying: “It is important that the government is able to run a sustainable migration program where the cost of running the program is not only born by the taxpayers but also by the people.
“So we think it’s a reasonable charge.”
As temporary parent visas cannot currently be renewed from within Australia, Labor is also promising to allow parents of migrants to renew their visas while they’re in the country.
“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,” Shorten said.
“This is about making sure that people from migrant and multicultural communities can get time and love and affection with their grandparents,” Labor’s immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann told reporters in Sydney.
“The current government has not listened to their voices and put in an unfair process and haven’t delivered the visa.”
With additional reporting by NTD staff