The Australian government will scrap its controversial changes to parent visa sponsorship rules.
The climbdown follows weeks of backlash from migrant communities and will completely reverse the changes, less than a month after they were introduced by Social Services Minister Dan Tehan.
Mr Tehan sent a letter to Greens senator Nick McKim on Wednesday, confirming the government would undo the regulation rather than face a narrow defeat on the floor of the upper house.
Labor and a group of key crossbenchers had agreed to back a Greens disallowance motion to torpedo the change.
The changes, which took effect in April, meant residents needed much higher salaries to bring their parents to Australia on a visa. An individual trying to sponsor their two parents would need to prove they earn an annual income of $86,607, up from $35,793 under the previous rules.
The government will revert to the old rules and will “reassess” any migrants who applied since the April change.
Mr Tehan plans to rewrite the legislative instrument before May 23, the letter confirms, and will “replicate the circumstances as they were prior to April 1”.
“Any individual that has had an assessment under the new provisions will be reassessed,” Mr Tehan writes.
The backflip represents a substantial departure from Mr Tehan’s previous argument. Last month, the minister said changes were needed to ensure migrant parents did not become a drain on the welfare system.
“The Australian Government wants to ensure newly-arrived migrants have the financial capacity to support themselves, while also ensuring the social security system remains sustainable,” Mr Tehan said at the time.
The change would have impacted thousands of migrants on Australia’s long waiting list for visas, who were yet to have their sponsors in Australia submit their proof-of-income documents to Centrelink.
Discuss Parent Visas at https://www.pomsinoz.com/topic/50481-the-brand-new-pio-parents-visa-thread/