Australia to offer new, 5-year visas to families of migrants

CANBERRA, Sept. 24 (PNA/Xinhua) — Families of migrants to Australia will be able to apply for a five-year temporary residency visa, in a move set to reduce the decade-long wait list for families seeking a permanent residency visa, the Australian government has announced.

The move was made after the government became aware of frustrations surrounding the current visa program, Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke was quoted by The Australian on Saturday.

Currently, if family members of a migrant to Australia wish to join their family through a visa program, they are put on a lengthy wait list for a permanent residency visa.

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But under the new plan, migrants can sponsor their family’s move, and they’ll be given a five-year visa without waiting for a long time.

Families or the migrants will be required to contribute to the cost of the visa, a measure which has come about after a Productivity Commission report last week found the overall cost of hosting migrants’ parents would be up to USD2.5 billion once welfare, health care and other social benefits are given to them.

Hawke said many migrants and their ethnic communities were upset at the long wait list which prevented families from being reunited in Australia.

“We want to help families reunite and spend time together, while ensuring that we do so in a way that does not burden Australia’s health care system,” Hawke added.

The government estimated that just 1,500 people migrate to Australia to join family members who were already living in the country.

The government is yet to decide on a cost for the new, five-year temporary visa program, however it expects to implement the visa from July 1, 2017.(PNA/Xinhua)



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