FAQs on bringing a dependent child to Australia

It has been over 18 months since the world went on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic brought many repercussions, these include the difficulties of bringing family members to Australia on a temporary visa and the challenges to Australian visa holders to regularly visit their loved ones who are overseas.  

This article intends to answer the three most common questions on applying for a visa for dependent children. This will encompass different visa subclasses depending on the visa held by the parent which includes Student visa subclass 500, Graduate visa subclass 485, Partner Visa 820/309, Partner Visa 801, PR visas under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream, or if the parent is an Australian citizen.

Can I sponsor my child who is over 18 years of age?

The simple answer to this question is yes but a more elaborate answer would entail knowing the sponsoring parent’s visa status in Australia and checking the requirements of the specific visa subclass that the child can apply for.

For example, if the sponsoring parent holds a Permanent Residency visa (can be Partner visa subclass 801 or Skilled Independent 189 visa or Skilled Nominated 190 visa), the child who is over 18 years old can apply for a Child visa subclass 101 (for offshore application) or a Child Visa 802 (for onshore application) if the child can satisfy the following:

  1. The child has not turned 25 years of age.  
  2. The child is dependent (wholly or substantially reliant for financial support to meet the first person’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter) on the sponsoring parent; and
  3. If the child has another source of financial support, the sponsoring parent has the greatest financial support contribution to the child; or
  4. The child wholly or substantially relies on the sponsoring parent for financial support because the child cannot work due to total or partial loss of the first person’s bodily or mental functions.  The maximum age requirement does not apply in this case.
  5. The child is not engaged to be married; is not married or in de facto partnership; and has never had a spouse or de facto partner
  6. The child is not engaged in full-time work and since turning 18, or within 6 months or a reasonable time after completing the equivalent of year 12 in the Australian school system, been undertaking a full-time course of study at an educational institution leading to the award of a professional, trade, or vocational qualification.

For sponsoring parents who are including their child when applying for their PR visa (subclass 189 or 190 or 186) or temporary visa (such as Student visa subclass 500 or Graduate visa subclass 485), the enlisted requirements above will be the same except that the child should have not turned 23 years of age. Also, like the Child visa 101, the age requirement will not apply if the child has a physical or mental disability and is wholly or substantially reliant on the sponsoring parent.

Can I sponsor my child who is over 18 years of age and is working full-time?

In some cases, the child might have completed his/her studies and might already have a full-time job but is still under 23 years of age. This would not satisfy the requirements on items 2, 3 and 6 as discussed earlier. This means that the child may not be able to show that he/she is financially reliant on the sponsoring parent.

Can I sponsor my child from my previous relationship?

Yes, you can sponsor your child on a Child Visa or your child can be included in your visa application even if your relationship with the child’s other parent has ended. If the child is under 18 years of age, you will need to show as part of the application that the other parent consents to the child to apply for an Australian visa and for the child to live with you in Australia. 

It is tough to be away from our dependent child/ren for a sustained period and it is even harder not knowing when you can spend quality time together in person. If you have plans of bringing your dependent child/ren here in Australia, it would be best to find out your child’s eligibility and options by seeking professional advice or assistance from a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer.  

(Johanna Bertumen Nonato is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN1386856) and the CEO of BridgeAus Migration Consultancy. For enquiries, email info@bridgeaus.com.au or call 0427 589 274).