Family ties & Migrating to Australia

Date: Sep 02, 2009
Document Type: Newsletter

Under the Australian Migration Program, people can apply for visas under the family stream component.

Family stream migrants - who are they?

Family stream migrants are selected on the basis of their family relationship with their sponsor in Australia. Family stream migrants will be assessed on an individual basis and must be assessed against Australia's health and character requirements.

The family stream has four main categories:

  • Partner;
  • Child;
  • Parent; and
  • Other family.

Family stream migrants and sponsorship

All family stream migrants, whether they apply in or outside Australia, must be sponsored by a close family relative, partner or fianc�. The sponsor must be an Australian citizen/permanent resident/eligible New Zealand citizen and 18 years of age or older.


There are limits on the number of sponsorships people may make when sponsoring a partner or fianc�, and on the timeframe in which they may be made. It is always advised to speak to your legal representative. Capping of visa classes can also occur, where no more visas will be granted for the year.

The family stream categories


This involves spouses or de factor partners (including same-sex partners) of the Australian sponsor.

A Prospective Marriage visa is also available for a fianc� overseas who plans to marry their Australian sponsor after travelling to Australia.

Partner applicants must be sponsored by their partner (or parent/guardian of their partner if their partner is less than 18 years old).


This involves a dependant child of the Australian sponsor, which includes a step child or adopted child overseas.

An Orphan Relative visa is available for a child who is unmarried, not in a de facto relationship and is under 18 years old at the time of application who cannot be cared for by either parent.

Child applicants must be sponsored by a parent or relative, or that person's cohabiting partner.


Parents wanting to migrate to Australia can do so under a "parent" category or a "contributory parent" category.

The contributory parent category usually has more places available each migration program year. Applicants for a contributory parent visa usually pay a substantially higher second visa application charge and a larger Assurance of Support (AoS) bond with a longer AoS period.

Parent applicants are usually sponsored by their child or stepchild, but they may also be sponsored by their child's partner. If the child is under 18, certain other people are able to sponsor the applicant.

Other family

This involves Aged Dependant Relatives, Remaining Relatives and Carers.

An Aged Dependant Relative is one who is single, widowed, divorced or formerly separated person who is dependant on an Australian relative.

A Remaining Relative is a person who has no near relatives outside Australia and is the brother, sister, child or step equivalent of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. A person who entered Australia as a remaining relative or a person who previously sponsored a remaining relative cannot sponsor another person as a remaining relative.

A Carer is a person willing and able to give substantial, continuing assistance to an Australian relative or member of their family who has a medical condition that impairs their ability to attend to the partial aspects of daily life. The need for assistance must be likely to continue for at least two years.

Other family applicants must be sponsored by a relative.


Migration legislation limit opportunities for unsuccessful applicants in Australia to apply again for a visa while still in Australia. This ensures people do no continue to make applications on the basis to delay their departure from Australia.

For family stream migrants, only an orphan relative or a dependant child may apply to remain in Australia as a permanent resident, provided that circumstances have changed since the refusal of their last application.

Partner visas are deliberately excluded from these arrangements. This prevents people who have been refused a visa from being able to use marriage or a de facto relationship with an Australian as a means of either delaying their departure or obtaining residence.

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