Australian Visas for Family Members

One of the hardest things as a Registered Migration Agent I ever need to tell somebody is that they can’t bring a family member along with them to migrate from Philippines to Australia. This is either when the client wants to add somebody to their existing visa application, eg to their partner visa application as a dependent, or if they want to bring somebody over to Australia later on a new visa application.

Filipino family members and Australian Family Visas


Why you can’t your relatives migrate to Australia?


The first concept (one that I quote all the time) is that under Australian Law visas are GRANTS and not RIGHTS. No one other than an Australian Citizen has a right to live in Australia. Everyone else needs to apply, and they only get to visit or to live in Australia if they meet the criteria set out in the Migration Regulations. That’s it. And the setting of these laws is done by the Governments that the Australian people vote for.

What it means is that no one other than the Department of Immigration and Border Protection may make decisions on who comes in and who doesn’t, and even they must abide by those laws. If your relative doesn’t match up with the right Regulations for a visa, they don’t come in. Simple as that.

Where it becomes hard is that it clashes with Filipino family values. Families in the Philippines are close. If one of the family gets a big house, before you know it that house will be full of very welcome relatives. Filipino people want to share their good fortune, and the relatives know this. One gets to go to Australia, and not only does that Filipino want their relatives there with them because they like having them around, but they also want to do what they can to provide family members with a good life.

Well…..sorry……you can’t!

No, you can sometimes. But only by certain pathways, and these are fairly limited.


Do “Family Visas” exist? What options DO exist?


No, there are no Australian “family visas”. Cannot “petition” for the relatives. There are no visas for aunts, cousins, sisters, etc. Even if your wife’s sister WAS her favourite, you can’t add her onto the partner visa application. And you can’t just go out and adopt her either, without going through a real legal minefield where only the tough survive.


What CAN you do?

Dependent children: Yes, you can include your wife’s children if she has custody and if they are truly dependents. You can add them as secondary applicants to your wife’s Australian partner visa application (or prospective marriage visa application), or you can apply for them on Dependent Child Visas or Child Visas later. But they need to BE dependent. If they’ve moved out… married, or even got engaged or are living in de facto relationships….or became employed….then no longer dependent. For Child Visas, they need to have maintained study. To be included in partner visa applications it’s not spelled out that study must have been maintained, however it becomes harder to prove dependency if someone is 25 and appears to be doing nothing!

But you cannot include the “just like a daughter to me” relatives. We’re talking actual kids and adopted kids.

Skilled visas and work visas: This used to be a goldmine for people bringing in their relatives, back in the days before English testing, trade skill testing and when secretaries and waitresses could apply. Today? If the relative is not a professional with great English skills and an employer willing to sponsor them, then it’s not going to work. Your mate at the hardware can’t give brother Jhun Jhun a job packing shelves and expect a visa for it.

Student visas: Short and sweet here, and remembering that student visas are not permanent visas anyway. IF your relative would have travelled to Australia and done this particular course quite naturally, ie. even without you there in Australia, then the application may work. But if it’s obvious they are just using it as a stepping stone to Australia, suggest you forget the idea. They’ve heard it all before.

Parent visas: If you have around $60,000.00 to spare, and if your mum or dad is widowed, and if most of the family is here in Australia, then yes you may well consider this one.

Remaining relative visas: These can be applicable if there are NO members of the immediate family left in Philippines because they are in Australia, this could well have been an option. Only problem is that current quotas versus applications in the system mean that the wait is around 50 years for these!

A bit of a bleak picture, sorry to say. But that’s how it is, and we at Down Under Visa won’t waste clients time or money when something they want to do simply won’t work. We have plenty of legitimate business and don’t need to take on crafty schemes designed to take money from people who miss their families. Reality is that unless they are truly dependent kids, they have to stand in the queue and be assessed against the same criteria as everybody else. Please do NOT build their hopes up. Not in your power. Gents? Put away the suit of shining armour and don’t make promises you can’t keep.


Advice forums, and applying for Australian visas yourself
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