Surgeon Krishna Rau is fighting immigration to keep his 91 year old father, Timmy,  in Australia.
Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Surgeon Krishna Rau is fighting immigration to keep his 91 year old father, Timmy, in Australia. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

Migrant families given hope, but it comes at a price

PARENTS of migrants in Australia now have another option for coming to live with their families, but only if they can pay.

On Saturday, the Australian government announced a new visa plan where relatives of migrants could be granted a five-year visa without lengthy waiting times as long as they were sponsored by their families in Australia.

Those applying would be required to contribute to the cost of the visa in addition to funding the move and purchasing private health insurance.

Retired Sunshine Coast surgeon Krishna Rao is one campaigner eager to see the rules changed, as current laws mean families can wait up to 10 years before being granted permanent residency.

The announcement comes as the Productivity Commission has recommended the government substantially hike the $50,000 fee for Contributory Parent Visas.

The report noted this fee met only a fraction of the costs when a parent was allowed to stay in the country as a permanent resident and enjoy access to Medicare and other benefits.

Speaking to the Daily earlier this month, Mr Rao expressed his support for a long stay visa, as he said it would incur the tax payer no costs.

Mr Rao recently lost his battle with Border Control to allow his 92-year-old father to stay with him while he continues to pay all his expenses.

He was forced to send his frail dad on the long trip to the USA to meet Australia's stringent rules which only allow parents to stay for a 12 month stretch before having to leave the country for the next six months.

Mr Rao was one of 28,000 people who have signed a petition on Change.Org calling on Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton to introduce a new, long stay visa.

They suggested a 10 year visa with a two years continuous stay and a compulsory 10 day "country out period" would "seriously help migrants and their parents".

It would also generate business in Australia as private health insurance would be compulsory to cover all medical expenses during their stay so as not to cost "the Australian tax payers a single penny".

The cost for the five-year temporary visa program is yet to be announced, but is expected to be implemented from July 1, 2017.

The petition was started by Adelaide's Arvind Duggal in 2014 after his own battle to care for his elderly parents in his adopted country.

Mr Duggal migrated to Australia "years back" but was unable to apply for Contributory Parent Visa as he couldn't meet the Balance of Family test.

This test requires people to have half of their family living in Australia in order to qualify.

Mr Duggal said in many countries and cultures it was the "prime responsibility of a son to look after his old parents".

"Some of the parents are too old and travelling every year is very hard as well as expensive," he said.

"When they live by themselves without any care, they become vulnerable to crime and face the risk of their lives too," he said.

"There have been many incidents where criminals take the advantage of their conditions and they lost lives and everything."