As you explore the eligibility criteria to apply for a parent visa, you may come across the “balance of family test”. It is a very crucial requirement for lodging an application for a parent visa especially if you wish to live with your children in Australia, or want to spend the retirement years of your life with your loved ones. Therefore, you must understand the complexities of the balance of family test and its importance to avoid visa cancellation in Australia.
Under section 105 of the Migration Act, The Department of Home Affairs has made it necessary for individuals applying for a parent visa on a temporary or permanent basis to pass the balance of family test.
Therefore, it is mandatory for the candidates to clear the balance of family test to secure their visa in Australia. It doesn’t matter whether you are applying for a temporary visa or want to live there as a permanent resident; you have to meet the requirement of the balance of family test. What matters here is getting authentic information regarding Australian immigration policies, as incomplete or misleading information may lead to the cancellation or rejection of your visa.
Therefore, get ready to discover the answers to your questions about the balance of the family test and what you need to do to pass this test.
What is the Balance of Family Test?
The balance of family test is used to check the family connections of a parent visa applicant to their children residing in Australia. It ensures that only those applicants are granted parent visas with significant connections to the country. A parent will pass the balance of family test if he has more “eligible children” than children residing in any other nation or if at least half of their biological and stepchildren are “eligible children”. Are you wondering who can be counted in the balance of the family test? Let’s find out together.
Who is an Eligible Child?
A child is considered eligible in balance test under Section 105(2) of the Migration Act if they are either an Australian citizen, a permanent resident who resides in Australia, or a citizen of New Zealand who lives in Australia. Children on temporary visas in Australia are not eligible since they are considered residents of another country. Moreover, missing children are assumed to be living in their last known country of residence.
Who is an Ineligible Child?
The children of an applicant and their spouse are included while examining the balance of the family test, as long as they are alive. Children cannot be included in the family balance test if they:
- Possess a temporary visa.
- Born outside a partner relationship.
- Removed from the custody of their parents by adoption or a judicial decree.
- Living in a United Nations for Higher Commission Refugee Camp (UNHCR) and officially registered as refugees with the UNHCR.
- Living in a country where they lack the opportunity to meet their parents or where they are subjected to human rights violations.
If the applicant has step children (aged 18) from a previous relationship and possesses a custody order or guardianship, they will be counted in the balance of family test. However, if the applicant has stepchildren in the current relationship, they are included in the family test balance regardless of age.
Who is Eligible for a Parent Visa?
The balance of family test measures the degree of attachment and connection between the parents and their Australian-residing children. This is done by examining the family structure, the children’s numerical distribution, and their geographic location in relation to the parents. Furthermore, the number of children living in Australia is also a parameter for the balance of family test.
Given that it might be difficult to understand how the Australian Immigration Authorities determine eligibility based on the children’s place of residence, they have provided a helpful table with examples to clarify the process. Have a look at the table below;
If you are applying for any of the following visas, you need to pass the balance of family test:
- Parent visa (Subclass 103)
- Contributory Parent (Subclass 143)
- Contributory Parent (Subclass 173)
- Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804)
- Contributory Aged Parent (Subclass 864)
- Contributory Aged Parent Temporary Visa (Subclass 884)
1. Parent Visa (Subclass 103)
It is a permanent visa which allows you to migrate to your children in Australia. Under this kind of visa, you can live, work and study in Australia. Moreover, if you meet the eligibility criteria for citizenship, you will get it with this visa. You can also sponsor your family members for permanent residence, and for five years, you can travel freely within and outside of Australia without obtaining a new visa. To avail a parent visa subclass 103, you need to meet the following eligibility criteria.
- Be able to satisfy the necessary character and health assessments.
- Be sponsored by your child or your child’s partner if they are qualified New Zealand citizens over 18, Australian citizens, or permanent residents who have lived in Australia for more than two years when the application was submitted.
- Fulfill the criteria of the balance of the family test. At least half of your offspring should be permanently living in Australia, or there should be more children living as permanent residents in Australia than in any other nation.
You should also read this Explore Australia Retirement Visa | Requirements and Cost.
2. What to Do if the Child is Under the Age of 18?
If your child is under eighteen, you might be sponsored by one of the following:
- A guardian or relative of your child. In that case, he must be an eligible New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or at least eighteen years old.
- Your child’s partner, if they are an Australian or eligible New Zealand citizen, a permanent resident, or both, and they are at least 18 years old.
- Relative of your child’s spouse. Again, they must be Australian or qualified New Zealand citizens or permanent residents who are 18 years of age or older.
3. Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804)
Aged parent visa is for those who are at least sixty-six years old and have a child who is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia, or a qualified New Zealand citizen who usually resides in Australia. You can live permanently in the country and even be able to apply for Australian citizenship. Under this visa, you can have access to the healthcare system in Australia (Medicare).
To apply for this kind of visa, you need to satisfy the following visa requirements;
- You need to pass the balance of family test.
- You must pass certain health and character requirements.
- You must be sixty-five to apply for an aged parent visa. You must be sponsored by your child. Keep in mind that your child can only sponsor you if he is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen, and he must have lived for two years in Australia before submitting the visa application.
Important: There is a huge demand for this visa, similar to the subclass 103 parent visa, but it is regarded as a low priority, so you will have to wait in line to get it granted. It might take as long as 30 years. However, getting professional help can save you from a lot of trouble.
4. Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 884)
This is a temporary visa that allows elderly parents of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen for almost two years to live in the country. Under this visa, you can also have access to Medicare and other full work rights. The processing time of this visa is shorter as compared to parent visa subclass 103. However, you need to pay more for submitting a visa application. Since this visa is a temporary visa, and to gain permanent residence in Australia, you can later apply for a permanent contributory aged parent visa (subclass 865) before your visa expires.
5. Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 173)
It is also a temporary visa and allows a parent to live in Australia for almost two years, given that the parent passes the balance of family test criteria. Moreover, the parent must be sponsored by his child or partner of the child who is either an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen. The processing time of this visa is also very short, which, in turn, increases the visa price.
Note: If you are applying for a Sponsored parent visa (Subclass 870), you are not required to pass the balance of family test. This is because the sponsored parent visa is a temporary visitor visa, and you cannot convert it into a permanent one.
How Can the Migration Help You?
Undoubtedly, the visa application process is quite challenging. Many applicants get tangled in confusion along the way as the Australian Government applies strict rules and regulations, allowing only eligible candidates to enter the country. The visa cancellation rate is higher in Australia, and to avoid visa rejection, you must seek professional help.
The Migration is an authentic consultation company that offers affordable consultancy services to its clients. We have MARA-certified agents in Australia who are dedicated to assisting you with your visa application processing. Grab the opportunity to elevate your journey in Australia. Schedule an appointment now and let our experts provide you cost-effective consultation.
Do stepchildren have to pass the balance of family test?
Yes, you need to pass the balance of family test if you have stepchildren living in Australia and meet the eligibility requirements to sponsor a parent.
Is it possible for me to get a waiver for the balance of the family test?
No, it is not possible. The Australian government put stringent measures for the balance of family tests, and they cannot be waived under any conditions. However, if you do not count all your children in the evaluation, you may get a waiver for the balance of family test.
What to do if I fail the balance of family test?
If you have failed the balance of family test, don’t worry. You still have the alternative options to migrate to Australia. You can apply for one of these visas;
- Business skills visas
- Investor Retirement Visa
- Aged Dependent Relatives Visa
- Skilled Australian-sponsored visa
However, you need to meet the eligibility criteria for these visas.
What if I don’t have a good relationship with my child?
The balance of the family test doesn’t depend upon the quality of your relationship with your child. So, it doesn’t matter whether you have a good relationship with your child or not. The child will be included in the balance of family test if they are your spouse’s or your own biological child. Children who are deceased or who meet any other exclusion criteria will not be included in the balance of family test.
So, there it is- all about the parameter of the balance of the family test. The balance of a family test is essential if you are applying for any type of parent visa. You just have to pass the eligibility requirements for this test, including an eligible child who can sponsor you.
Whether you want to visit your children living in Australia or want to move there permanently to enjoy the retirement years of your life, remember you have to pass the balance of family test except for a visitor visa. Moreover, it is better to consult a professional as everyone’s case is different and seeking proper guidance is crucial.
I, Samavia Shahid, am providing guidance to aspiring Australian migrants through my blogs. I share comprehensive information regarding complex visa pathways that will guide you towards the right course of action to acquire your immigration goals.