Pathway to Permanent Residency for Retirees

Department of Home Affairs keeps on bringing updates to its policies. Just like it introduced updates to Subclass 489 Regional visas, it now has a great news for current Subclass 405 and Subclass 410 visa holders! The Department of Home Affairs is offering them chance to transition to permanent residence w.e.f. November 17, 2018.

In short, these visas are for self-funded retirees with no dependants who wish to reside in Australia during the years of their retirement. The criteria are that the applicant must be at least 55 years of age and have a set income of at least AUD$65,000 or a set investment to live in Australia temporarily. The income bar is slightly lower at AUD$50,000 per year to live in regional area, however.

However, it must be noted that both visa categories are not closed to new applicants. There are new regulations in place for the Subclass 405 and 420 visa holders w.e.f. May 2018.

The new legislative instrument, however, takes care of pathway to permanent visa for people who are holders of 410 and 415 visas or who may enter the criteria with passing age. This visa was initially introduced over 35 years ago to encourage retirees to bring overseas funds into Australia and live in country as temporary residents while exerting no pressure on to Australia’s social and welfare system, but this is not the case now because majority of retirees are from countries with Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with Australia and are ineligible for Medicare under the RHCA. The above amendment has been put in place to address the issues related to their temporary resident status like lack of government-funded health care & social services, additional tax & duties imposed on foreigners purchasing properties and uncertainty about their future.

As mentioned above, there were concerns about the difficulties faced by retirees, including lack of access to health and other Government and community services, and disadvantage in relation to taxation and property issues faced by 405/410 visa holders, and this is the reason new changes are being introduced. Still the holders of temporary retirement visas can obtain permanent residence, but in limited circumstances. The retirees may apply for a Subclass 103 (Parent) visa or a Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent) visa.  Retirees must apply in Australia, maintain adequate health insurance until the permanent visa is granted, and meet the relevant health, character and other public interest criteria for the grant of the permanent visa.

However, there is a difference between Subclass 103 and Subclass 143 visa with latter being more expensive, which aims to offset part of the future cost of health care and other services. Despite being more expensive the waiting time for grant of Subclass 143 visa is considerably lesser than that of Subclass 103 visa. Retirees can apply for either of the visas or continue to stay as a temporary resident in Australia. On the other hand, retirees who have applied for either of the visas will get a bridging visa to maintain their lawful status during the processing of the parent visa application.

Per the Department of Home Affairs, following numbers of visas are available under contributory and non-contributory parent visa scheme for 2018-19 migration program:

  • 1,500 numbers for Parent (non-contributory) visas (subclasses 103 and 804)
  • 7,175 numbers for Contributory Parent visas (subclasses 173/143 and subclasses 884/864)

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