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Federal lift in visa cost to $50,000 strands elderly relatives

Theresa Webster and mum Helen. Picture: Eugene Hyland Source: News Corp Australia

FAMILIES are being forced to pay almost $50,000 to bring an elderly parent to Australia and care for them in their twilight years after a much cheaper $5000 visa closed, catching some off-guard.

The Federal Government last month closed five “non-contributory” visas, including the Aged Parent visa, and ­directed families to instead apply for more expensive “contributory” visas.

Although changes were flagged in the May Budget, people were given just hours’ notice on a government website on May 30 of the closure of applications that day.

It has left families with ­applications in the works unable to afford the new price tag.

Theresa Webster, an only child, brought her British mother, Helen, 86, to Melbourne from South Africa last month to care for her, rather than send her to an aged care home in a country where she has no family to visit her. But applications closed ­before they touched down and Ms Webster said she would have to send her mother back, as she was unable to pay the ­increase from $5000 to $50,000.

The Aged Parent, Aged ­Dependent Relative, Parent, Remaining Relative and Carer visas were all affected with similar price increases.

Ms Webster said her mother was dejected and “that’s very sad for an 86-year-old lady”.

“For elderly people, that’s their life — their children and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren,” she said.

“It’s what they look forward to in their twilight years and now my mum’s got to go back home because we don’t have the money to pay for a contributory visa.”

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said he recognised the decision was disappointing but waiting lists had blown out to as long as 16 years for some categories.

“Given the queues that had developed, it would be inappropriate to accept further applications and give people the false expectation that visas could be granted soon,” Mr Morrison said.

He said it was his “sincere hope” he could reinstate applications once the backlog was under control. Until then, visas would only be issued for previous applicants.

Migration Institute of Australia national president ­Angela Chan said the change had caught out many who were desperate for carer and parent visas they could now not afford. She said people had been happy to apply with full knowledge of the wait times.

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Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/federal-lift-in-visa-cost-to-50000-strands-elderly-relatives/story-fnii5sms-1227002082389

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