The Australian Government has announced community consultations will commence to develop a five-year temporary visa for parents of immigrants.
Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced Friday the government will kickstart consultations with the public to inform a continuous five-year visa for aged parents of immigrants in Australia.
"Reuniting three generations of families has great societal benefits, and that's why we're announcing a temporary visa of five years," Mr Hawke said.
"The Turnbull government will consult widely so that the setting for this visa enables the most options."
The visa is set to take effect on July 1, 2017.
Mr Hawke acknowledged the current visa program as inefficient, sometimes resulting in wait times of 30 years.
The current visa system for parents of either Australian citizens or permanent residents into two streams: the 'non-contributor' visa which takes 18-30 years to process and costs $7,000, and the 'contributor' visa which has about a two-year processing time at $50,000.
The announcement comes after the Productivity Commission released a report that suggested supporting parents of immigrants cost the country too much at between $2.6 billion and $3.2 billion over their lifetimes.
“A high cost for a relatively small group,” the report stated, given that their contribution to Australia was “typically poor”. The commission recommended an overhaul of the visa scheme, proposing among other changes that families of non-contributing parents paid for any income and health support during their residence.
During the election campaign in June, the Coalition promised a continuous five-year visa for parents of Australian residents and citizens, currently offered on a case-to-case basis to applicants who have lodged a concurrent permanent parental visa application.
Labor promised a parental visa that would allow parents of migrants a continuous stay of three years.
Currently, visiting parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed a continuous stay of up to 12 months.