by Anthony Bianco
If you live in Australia and would like to bring out family members from overseas on a temporary basis, did you know that the Department of Home Affairs has a ‘Sponsored family stream’ available as part of the Visitor visa (subclass 600)?
While the 600 visa is mainly issued for leisure and business travellers to Australia, the Sponsored family stream is also available for people who already live in Australia to bring out family members from overseas for an extended period.
You can find out how you can explore this avenue below.
The Sponsored Family Stream of the 600 visa is one of streams available for the Visitor visa (subclass 600). The 600 Visa Sponsored family stream visa can be valid for stays in Australia for up to twelve months.
The main difference between the Sponsored family stream and the other 600 streams is that you can be a sponsor living in Australia who provides a letter of invitation for a relative from overseas to visit. A sponsor can be either a family member (e.g. partner, parent, or sibling of the person planning to visit) or an Australian government official.
If you decide to bring out family members to Australia via the Sponsored family stream, you must be already living here, and the person you sponsor must arrive as a visitor only.
Specific visa application requirements do vary between countries. However, prospective visitors will need to meet health and character requirements and have enough funds to support themselves while they are in Australia.
Only individuals can enter Australia on this stream. Separate applications will need to be made for other family members who wish to visit. However, applications can be processed together.
Applications can be lodged online or offline. All non-internet based sponsored family stream applications must be sent by post or courier to Sydney. Sponsors may also be required to pay a security bond if a visa is approved.
Depending on the conditions of the visa issued, your family member may be able to stay in Australia for a period of up to 12 months on the Sponsored family stream. They will not be able to work in Australia on this visa.
Family members arriving on this visa can study for a period of up to 3 months in Australia. This visa will not be able to be extended as this stream is subject to condition 8503 – no further stay. Depending on the visa conditions, the visa holder may be able to depart and return to Australia multiple times.
Your family member must depart Australia before their visa expires.
To make the application as simple as possible, your prospective overseas visitor(s) should follow the below steps as suggested by the Department of Home Affairs:
Your family member must be outside of Australia throughout the application process, and cannot enter Australia until this visa is approved.
Otherwise, if the Sponsored family stream is not suitable for your family member, they may be eligible to visit Australia via the Tourist Stream of the 600 visa, which allows stays of 3, 6 or 12 months.
The Sponsored family stream of the 600 Visa is subject to Condition 8501 – where the visa holder must maintain adequate health insurance during their stay in Australia.
Visitors are required to manage their health costs in Australia and will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia is in place with the visa holder’s country.
For more information about the Sponsored family stream of the 600 Visitor visa, see more at the Department of Home Affairs website. The Department of Home Affairs regularly updates information in regards to visa information, so this website should be consulted regularly if a visa application is being considered.
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