Lately I have mentioned Alan Collett's possible "split visa strategy" for Contributory Parents a few times on here, which has led to loads of people asking about it.
During 2007, a bird told me that this idea had been suggested to him. I had never heard of it, so I asked Alan Collett whether he knew anything about it. He very kindly contacted DIAC at very senior level and got to the bottom of the query.
Alan then produced a factsheet about it, which is reproduced below (without the kind permission of the author but Alan pretty well said everything in the factsheet in a PiO thread that was running at the time so I am sure he won't mind, lol!)
The figures that Alan gives are the costs for a CPV in the 2006/7 Program Year and Alan was using the exchange rate that was applicable in May 2007, but apart from that his statements remain accourate as at the time of starting this thread. However it is a loophole in the present legislation and those can be blocked very quickly should Canberra choose to take action to close it.
Here is the text of the factsheet:
GO MATILDA - THE GATEWAY TO AUSTRALIA
CONTRIBUTORY PARENT MIGRATION
OPTIONS AS TO VISA STRATEGY FOR SPOUSES AND DE FACTO COUPLES
As those seeking the grant of a Contributory Parent visa will know, the Visa Application Charges and the Assurance of Support Bond make the Contributory Parent visa a fairly expensive pathway to permanent residency.
For example, using the Visa Application Charges and Assurance of Support Bond amounts applicable for the year ended 30 June 2007, and assuming an application by a couple is made for the grant of a permanent Contributory Parent visa immediately:
- Initial visa application charge – A$1,340 (for an offshore visa application)
- Second visa application charge – A$29,330 x 2 = A$58,660
- Assurance of Support Bonds – A$10.000 plus A$4,000, or A$14,000
An alternative strategy is for one of the couple to seek the grant of a Contributory Parent visa, and to then sponsor the spouse or partner for the grant of a Spouse visa.
- TOTAL - A$74,000
The costs then become:
1. For the Contributory Parent visa
- Initial visa application charge – A$1,340 (for an offshore visa application)
- Second visa application charge – A$29,330
- Assurance of Support Bond – A$10.000
- For the subsequent Spouse visa
- Visa application charge – A$1,340
This alternative strategy offers a saving of some A$31,990 (or about UK£13,400).
- TOTAL – A$42,010
We have spoken with the Department of Immigration’s Perth Offshore Processing Centre, which handles all offshore Contributory Parent visa applications, and they have confirmed that:
So what are the potential drawbacks of the “split visa strategy”?
- The “split visa strategy” is an option that is permitted by migration law and policy
- The Department of Immigration is aware of the loophole in the migration legislation, and has no present plans to change the position
- The Department of Immigration does not disadvantage applicants who apply under the “split visa strategy”
- The partner or spouse of the individual applying for the Contributory Parent visa must also pass health and character checks. This potentially introduces additional costs, as they will also be required for the Spouse visa application.
- Health issues might arise for the Spouse visa applicant before the grant of the grant of the Spouse visa, meaning a Spouse visa is not granted because of a new medical condition.
- Death of the sponsoring spouse prior to the grant of the Spouse visa (though we anticipate that the surviving spouse would then usually apply for the grant of a Contributory Parent visa).
It should be noted that the Department of Immigration can change policy or legislation at short notice – and should action be taken to address this loophole applicants may find the total visa application process takes a materially longer time as compared with the time it would take for a single CP visa application to be processed.
- A change in migration law or policy, such that (say) the Spouse visa applicant has to pay a higher Visa Application Charge if s/he is sponsored by the holder of a Contributory Parent visa, or an inability on the part of Contributory Parent visaholders to sponsor a spouse or partner.
- An additional fee payable to the migration advisor who is handling the Spouse visa application.
In summary, a “split visa strategy” is an option for parent couples seeking permanent residency with a potentially significant cost saving available in the order of A$30,000. However, changes to migration policy and/or legislation may be introduced by the Department of Immigration at short notice that could lead to a significant delay in the ability of both individuals being able to make a permanent move to Australia.
- If applying from offshore, the need for the Contributory Parent visaholder to validate the CP visa before being able to sponsor. This means additional costs of travel to Australia and more delay in the couple being able to make a permanent move to Australia.
Please contact Go Matilda if you wish to discuss the above more fully.
Go Matilda can be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone on 02380 488777, or by writing to us at Enterprise House, Ocean Village, Southampton, Hampshire, England, SO14 3XB.
If you are in Australia contact us by email on email@example.com, by telephone on 03 9935 2929 or by writing to us at PO Box 467 Belmont, VIC 3004, Australia.
Author: Alan Collett, Registered Migration Agent & Managing Director of Go Matilda.
Go Matilda - Your Gateway to Australia - Visa, Tax and Financial Planning for Australia
My own views are these:
1. The idea has now been "road tested" on several British CPV applicant couples. Not one of the couples whom I am in touch with has opted to risk it. Universally they have told me that they would rather pay the extra money in return for certainty and security on Day One. Obviously, though, I am only in touch with a comparitively small number of applicants and prospective applicants. Go Matilda's own experience might differ from mine because they "know" far more CPV applicants than I do.
2. This is a strategy which should be regarded as nothing more than a potential bonus or windfall towards the end of the process of applying for a joint CPV for both husband and wife. I believe that a joint application should be made and it should be made on the assumption that no money saving will be possible. The thing to do is to investigate the legal position shortly before the CO requests the Assurance of Support. If the loophole has not been closed by then, well & good. A decision about whether to attempt the split visa strategy can then be made at that point but not before then.
3. In every case, start with a joint application because it is much quicker, easier and less messy to withdraw one Parent from it than to add a second Parent to it at almost the last minute.
4. Unless the applicants and/or their children are completely confident of making the necessary legal enquiries of DIAC and getting the law right at the relevant time, this strategy should NOT be attempted without prior consultation with a Registered Migration Agent who can convince you that s/he understands all the potential ins & outs of it. If you are in any doubt about whether a given Agent really understands it and/or whether s/he is really willing to make the necessary last-minute legal checks with DIAC on your behalf, then instead consult a different Agent who CAN convince you of his/her understanding and thoroughness, for your own protection.
5. If you decide to attempt it then make arrangements for the CPV-holding Parent to travel to Australia to validate the CPV as soon as possible after the grant, and have your RMA lined up with a completed and ready Spouse application so that s/he can launch the Spouse application on behalf of the second Parent literally within a week of the CPV Parent's arrival in Oz. Speed would be very valuable in this situation so please do seek expert help to get everything ready beforehand. Your Agent can write a suitable covering letter to DIAC pulling all the various threads of the strategy together and s/he can also argue with DIAC should the latter try to spit their dummy when they see the Spouse application!
6. Expect the Spouse visa application to take longer to process than Spouse applications usually take. It is very possible that the DIAC office handling the Spouse application will decide to send for the CPV file before making a decision on the Spouse application. All completed visa application files are sent to somewhere in Oz for storage (I know not where.) Getting a file retrieved from storage and sent to another office is probably not a swift process.