The Australian Government announced its intention to close the non-Contributory Parent and Other Family visas in the budget papers on 13 May – almost three weeks before their repeal on 2 June 2014. Following the Budget announcement, the department’s website and advice to clients and stakeholders indicated the visas would be closed to new applications before the beginning of the 2014–15 Migration Programme year.
New applications can no longer be made for Carer (subclass 116 and subclass 836) visas.
For further information see Non-Contributory Parent and Other Family visas have closed to new applications.
Applications for a Carer visa lodged before 2 June 2014
If you lodged your application for a Carer (subclass 116 or subclass 836) visa prior to 2 June 2014, it can only be accepted by the department if you provided evidence that you or your relative had arranged to start the Medibank Health Solutions assessment process. This meant providing, with your application, the letter from MHS acknowledging your request for a care assessment. As noted on the department’s website, the eligibility criteria for this visa is that your relative had ‘arranged an assessment’ to be done with MHS.
All applications lodged with the department before the repeal date will continue to be queued and processed in accordance with existing legislation, policy and Processing Directions.
When must the Carer Visa Assessment be done?
The Carer Visa Assessment must be completed before a decision can be made on your visa application. It was not a requirement that the assessment be done before lodging your application.
Receiving notification that your Carer visa application is valid
The Department is currently dealing with a backlog of Parent and Other Family visa applications and there may be delays in you receiving an acknowledgment of your application. You should only proceed with your assessment if you are sure that you have lodged a valid application. It is recommended that you wait until you receive formal acknowledgement from the department.
Applications for a Carer visa after 2 June 2014
If you did not lodge your Carer (subclass 116 or subclass 836) visa application before 2 June 2014, you are unable to make a new application for this type of visa. You should not proceed any further with a Carer Visa Assessment as any fees paid for a completed assessment are unable to be refunded.
Waiting time for the Carer visa
Waiting times have been updated and current applicants for Carer visas can expect to wait six years for their applications to be finalised (calculated from 17 July 2014).
What options do other family relatives have to come to Australia now these visas are closed?
If your relative is not your partner/child/contributing parent, they would need to satisfy requirements for entry as a skilled migrant in order to migrate to Australia. SkillSelect is an online service for skilled workers whose details will be considered for a skilled visa through an Expression of Interest If selected they will then receive an invitation to lodge a visa application.
Alternatively, your relative may be eligible for a Visitor visa. Arrangements are available for the relatives of Australians to come to Australia to provide short-term care for their Australian relative who has a serious medical condition. Standard Visitor visa requirements must be met, including that the applicant genuinely intends only a temporary stay in Australia.
Change of medical provider from 28 July 2014
As of 28 July 2014 physical examinations for Carer visa assessments will be conducted by Bupa Medical Visa Services (Bupa Medical).
Medibank Health Solutions (MHS) will finalise all Carer visa assessments conducted up to the end of service on the 25 July 2014. MHS will not schedule new appointments between the 14 and the 25 July (due to the lead up times required to conduct the assessments).
After 21 July 2014 you should direct your call to the Bupa Call Centre. You will be provided with Bupa’s return address and instructions on where to send the Cover Letter and Statement of Needs documentation with your acknowledgement letter.
The change of Medical Provider from MHS to Bupa Medical on 28 July 2014 will not affect the processing of your current Carer visa application. You may, however, have some delays in arranging an appointment to have a Carer Visa Assessment during the transitional period. Your application will continue to be queued and processed according to usual procedures.
If you received an acknowledgement letter from MHS confirming initial contact and this has been included in a valid Carer visa application before 2 June 2014 you should contact Bupa Medical on 1300 794 919 to arrange an appointment for an examination. If you have not made a valid application for a Carer visa before 2 June 2014 you are unable to make a new application for a Carer visa and should not proceed any further with a Carer Visa Assessment.
Ameeta Parsuram ‘Meeta’ Psychologist, Poet & Lyricist