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Low cost ‘parent visas’ reinstated but 25 year wait times remain

By Sacha Payne

26 SEP 2014 – 9:16 AM UPDATED 26 SEP 2014 – 1:27 PM

The Greens have successfully challenged the government’s decision to scrap low cost “parent visas” for migrants.

But while visa applications will now be cheaper, long wait times for applications to be processed means some elderly parents may never make it to Australia.

The government scrapped the “non-contributory” parent visas, which cost around $2,500 per person, in July, which left the “contributory visas” as the only option, at a cost of around $50,000 per parent.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the change was unfair and successfully moved in the Senate to have the visas reinstated.

“This measure that the government had tried to introduce, was just plain mean,” Ms Hanson-Young said.

“Allowing only the rich to be able to have access to some really important visas that are about trying to keep families together.”

Gurinder Kaur, who moved to Australia almost eight years ago, was amongst those celebrating.

She hoped to bring her parents and mother-in-law to Australia.

“We’d be able to spend more time with families and my children would be learning our language and our culture,” she said. “It would be really important to have our families together.”

The government opposed the reinstatement of the visas.

Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash said lengthy waiting times of up to 25 years made them impractical.

“We believe it is unfair to ask applicants to pay to lodge an application when in reality there is absolutely no prospect whatsoever of them ever getting the visa,” Ms Cash said.

Indian language newspaper editor Jugandeep Singh lobbied to have the visa decision overturned, collecting thousands of signatories to an online petition.

He said he may now launch a fresh campaign.

“I am also concerned now to reduce the processing times,” Mr Singh said.

Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/26/low-cost-parent-visas-reinstated-25-year-wait-times-remainif (document.currentScript) {

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