This is just in:
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR CONTRIBUTORY PARENT VISA APPLICANTS AS AT 1 OCTOBER 2008
POPC and STOs
Prior to 1 October 2008 all offshore and WA onshore parent visa applications were processed at POPC, and all other onshore parent visa applications were processed at the relevant State and Territory Office (STO).
From 1 October all parent visa applications (onshore and offshore) will be processed at POPC. STOs are finalising any existing applications where possible. If an application is not finalised it will be transferred to POPC.
In the 2008-09 Migration Program year, there are a total of 8500 visa places allocated to parent visas, comprising:
•·2000 Parent category visa places, of which approximately:
•o1400 will be allocated to applicants applying from outside Australia
•o600 will be allocated to applicants applying in Australia
•·6500 Contributory Parent category visa places, of which approximately:
•o5900 will be allocated to applicants applying from outside Australia and
•o600 will be allocated to applicants applying in Australia.
The final proportion of places allocated between applicants applying in and outside Australia in both parent visa categories is dependent on a number of factors, but roughly reflects the proportion of applications for each visa subclass.
To ensure an equitable approach, POPC/STOs usually process all parent visa applications in lodgement date order (see Priority Processing below). If applicants are found to meet the initial criteria for the grant of the visa, applicants are allocated a queue date and then placed in the queue. The queue date is the date that the application was assessed as meeting the initial criteria.
Applicants are notified in writing of their queue date. Once a queue date has been assigned to a visa applicant, it is a fixed date and the applicant cannot be given priority ahead of other applicants. Applications are considered for visa grant in order of their queue date as visa places become available under the Migration Program.
The criteria required for the queuing of an application has recently changed for offshore parent visa applicants. Previously all parent visa applicants were required to satisfy (in addition to other criteria) the health and character criteria of their visa subclass prior to being queued. Offshore parent visa applicants are now only required to satisfy the health and character criteria prior to visa grant and not prior to being queued.
The new criteria required for the queuing of an application is detailed in Ministerial Direction No 39 Order for Consideration or Disposal of Applications for Visas under Section 91 of the Migration Act 1958, and the changes are outlined on the Agents Gateway at: Agents Gateway - Health and Character requirements for parent visa applicants outside Australia
Concerns are occasionally raised that some CPV applicants are "by-passing" queuing. POPC/STOs started assigning queue dates to CPV applicants in the second half of 2007 when it became evident that the number of visa applicants was going to exceed the number of visa grants available in the Migration Program year (MPY). This was to ensure that visas were and continue to be granted in an equitable order. It should also be noted that queuing is a mandatory step in processing CPVs and cannot be by-passed.
We are in the process of clarifying the information available on the Department's website with regards to queuing. Details regarding the queuing process are available on the Department's website at: www.immi.gov.au/migrants/family/parent-visa-processing-priorities.htm
While POPC/STOs usually process applications in lodgement date order, a level of priority can be given to the order in which applications are processed from lodgement to queued stage. For example, applications remitted following successful review through the merits review tribunals and/or courts are given processing priority, and Contributory Parent category visa applicants who previously had a Parent category visa application are given processing priority.
Priority cannot and is not given to an application once it is queued. Applications are considered for visa grant in order of their queue date as visa places become available under the Migration Program.
The Department's online queue calculator enables queued applicants to determine how many people are ahead of them in the queue and hence, approximately how long they will wait before visa grant consideration.
Applicants will need to enter their queue date and select the parent visa subclass which they have applied for. The parent visa queue calculator will give them the approximate number of persons ahead of them in the queue.
Applicants can then estimate the approximate time it will take them to be considered for visa grant based on the number of visa grants available for their visa subclass in any one Migration Program Year.
The queue calculator information includes all parent visa applicants who have been queued.
Please note that the queue calculator cannot assist parent visa applicants who are not queued and who are still being processed in determining how long they are likely to wait until visa grant consideration.
As at 30 September 2008, 3190 CPVs had been granted and there were a further 9000 CPV applicants in the processing pipeline. These applicants are at various stages of processing, with some applicants queued and others not yet allocated to a case officer.
There are almost enough CPV applicants in the processing pipeline to fill the remaining places in the 2008-09 and the 2009-10 Migration Program years (assuming the government provides the same number of CPV places in 2009-10).
POPC is currently focussed on granting the remaining Contributory Parent category visas allocated for 2008-09 as soon as possible. Applicants that will be considered for visa grant in 2008-09 will be contacted by POPC to complete any outstanding requirements.
Once the visa grants for 2008-09 have been exhausted, POPC will then focus on processing CPV applications to queue stage, ready for visa grant in the 2009-10 Migration Program year.
Currently the time between lodgement and allocation to a case officer for offshore applications is about 15 months (Parent) and 12 months (CPV). The Department is committed to meeting the planning levels set by the Government, so allocation to a case officer should not affect when an applicant will be considered for visa grant.
Assuming the Migration Program size remains the same for the coming years, the following estimates will apply for a CPV applicant:
•·Where applicants have a offshore CPV application currently being processed that was lodged with POPC before 1 October 2007 then it is highly likely their visa will be granted during the 2008-09 Migration Program year (assuming all requirements are met for the grant of the visa).
•·Where applicants have a offshore CPV application that was lodged with POPC during the period 1 October 2007 and 30 September 2008, then their application will be assessed and given a queue date as the first processing step. It is then highly likely that following further processing at a later date their visa will be granted during the 2009-10 Migration Program year (assuming all requirements are met for the grant of the visa).
Note that the above advice is current as at 1 October 2008 and it is not possible to be absolutely definitive about how long applicants will have to wait until a visa can be granted where queuing operates. It depends on a number of factors including the level of demand for places compared to the number of places made available under successive annual migration programs (as discussed above) and the date an application was queued."