What is the difference between a ‘two-stage’ or ‘direct’ application?
We wouldn’t be where we are without our parents; it’s not always easy being away from each other this much. Unfortunately visitor visas are only valid for short periods and it’s not that feasible for anyone to be flying that often. Non-contributory parent visas have a wait time of a few decades. Here’s where the contributory parent visa comes in.
Contributory parent visas are processed at a more ‘regular’ rate, generally taking anywhere from 1 – 2 years (but of course it varies from case to case). As its name suggests though, contributory parent visas require a contribution. This is a monetary contribution, atop all the other visa application and related fees. The current outlay (first and second instalment) for a contributory parent visa sits around the $50,000 mark.
There are a few subclasses under the contributory class of parent visas:
Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173)
Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)
Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 884)
Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864)
There are two ways in which you can apply for your parents’ contributory parent visas. You could go the long route and work from a temporary contributory visa (subclasses 173 and 884) to a permanent contributory visa (subclasses 143 and 864 respectively) or you could go directly for the permanent contributory visa (subclasses 143 and 864). Let’s call this the ‘two-stage route’ and the ‘direct route’. We are going to leave out aged (above pension age) parent visas for clarity, but don’t stop reading if you fall under the aged category. The only difference for the aged category of contributory visas are that applications are onshore as opposed to offshore. Otherwise the direct and two-stage route for contributory aged parent visas work the same way.
Applying directly for subclass 143 AKA the direct route
The applicant, with a complete and eligible application, submits their application with an initial or ‘first instalment’ fee.
Once the file is allocated and is being processed, requests for items such as medical clearance, police clearance and Assurance of Support (Aos)/bond* will be requested.
- The second instalment will then be required before the permanent visa grant (subclass 143).
Applying for subclass 143 via subclass 173 AKA the two-stage route
- The applicant, with a complete and eligible application, submits their application with an initial or ‘first instalment’ fee.
- Once the file is allocated to a case officer and is being processed, requests for items such as medical clearance will be requested.
- The second instalment will then be required before a temporary visa (subclass 173) grant. This temporary visa (subclass 173) expires after 2 years from its grant date. This visa cannot be extended or renewed.
- The applicant must submit their application for a permanent visa (subclass 143) before their temporary (subclass 173) visa expires if they wish to continue to stay in Australia. This application process is similar; a first instalment, followed by file allocation and document requests – except that the requested items are police clearance (yes, a second time) and Assurance of Support (AoS)/bond* – with a final instalment. In most cases there is no request for a medical check to be completed again for the second stage as they would have already passed in for the temporary 173 visa process.
What’s the difference?
Once your parents are on the subclass 173 visa, they get to be onshore, which is the main thing. They will not need to leave to apply for the subclass 143 visa. 173 visa holders, like full fledged 143 visa holders, are also eligible for Medicare, have work and study rights and have no travel restrictions.
The main difference: 2 payments with the direct route and 4 payments with the two-stage route; the two-stage route allows for payment to be aggregated over time, and is more paperwork. Also, the two-staged route does end up costing the applicant a little more.
Another thing to consider is that the charges are adjusted annually. The first and second instalment (total cost) of each visa is based on the charges in place at the time the application is made for each visa respectively. If you were to take the two-stage route, you might be subject to higher charges by the time you are ready to make your permanent (subclass 143) application.
Let’s do a cost comparison (single applicant, straightforward application):
|Subclass 143 (as a 173 visa holder)**||Cost*|
* Costs are at the time of publication (August 2016). Do not take these to be accurate for your individual situation. Please verify the costs through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or speak with a migration agent. The above costs also do not include costs for obtaining medical, police clearance and other documents.
** Costs for subclass 143 via subclass 173 are based on fees at the time of publication. Realistically, these fees would be the fees 2 years post your subclass 143 visa grant which would probably have been raised.
The ideal situation would be to go for the Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143) directly but for those who will find their finances too stretched, the long route would be better suited. The bond (currently $10,000) is also only required for the application of the second stage 143 visa.
All that has been discussed is a ‘baseline’ for contributory parent visa applications. Things change depending on immigration history, others involved in the application and other circumstances. Always do your own research or consult with a qualified and experienced migration agent, especially with an application that requires such a huge monetary expense. Good luck!
Jee Eun Han
Senior Migration Agent, Australian Immigration Law Services