Migrants sharpen attack against “unfair” elderly parent visas

By Leith van Onselen

Migrant communities have stepped up their campaign to loosen Australia’s newly established ‘temporary’ elderly parental visas, which from this month will allow up to 15,000 elderly parents of migrants to live in Australia for a continuous period of three, five or 10 years.

Several migrant communities have labelled these “absolutely unfair” because of the circa $2,000 a year application fee, the need to have private health insurance, as well as the minimum family income threshold of $83,454.80. From SBS News:

Melbourne couple Inderdeep and Harpreet Sandhu were looking forward to Australia’s new temporary parent visa, so their parents in India could spend more time with their three children.

Now, they say, they have been left wanting.

“It is absolutely unfair because what the initial terms and conditions promised were … they have not been stuck to,” Mr Sandhu told SBS News.

…families can only sponsor one set of parents and will be able to renew the visa only once, meaning parents are permitted to stay in Australia for a total of 10 years…

“For us, this visa means a lot, our culture is such that we have always been used to having joint families and to having our elders around us.”

So if you “have always been used to having joint families and to having our elders around us”, why did you choose to migrate to Australia and leave your family behind? Nobody should migrate to another country for economic reasons and then expect to bring their elderly parents along for the ride.

Back to SBS News:

Mr Duggal says migrant communities in Australia deserve fairer terms than the new three and five-year parent visas offer.

“They are trying to make money from the grandparents visiting their kids, which is un-Australian and unethical”…

The new visa starts from $5,000, up to $20,000 depending on the length of stay.

Nobody is “trying to make money from the grandparents”. Elderly parent visas cost taxpayers an enormous amount of money. For example, the Productivity Commission’s (PC) 2016 Migrant Intake into Australia Report estimated that permanent parental visas cost “between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, which ultimately must be met by the Australian community”. The PC also warned that “every dollar spent on one social program must require either additional taxes or forgone government expenditure in other areas”.

While these temporary parental visas are a little less generous than their permanent counterparts, the costs to taxpayers will still be enormous.

Back to SBS News:

“$80,000 income for a single person like me is quite hard, so we won’t be eligible for this visa at all,” Mr Sandhu says…

Married Sydney couple, Aaron Ji and Olivia Zhu arrived in Australia in 2017 and are permanent residents…

They say the fees for the new temporary visa will mean they are going to be priced out.

“We are children from low-income families and so we don’t have high salaries, if we apply for the three-year visa, we need to pay $5,000, for us it is quite a bit of pressure,” says Mr Ji…

A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs told SBS News the new visa was designed after extensive public consultation and the income threshold is to ensure sponsors have sufficient resources to support their parents.

Complaints that migrants cannot meet the $83,454.80 family income threshold highlights that Australia is not running a ‘skilled’ migration program at all, but rather a defacto low-skilled program. The average full-time salary in Australia is above the threshold at $86,600, which includes both skilled and unskilled workers. If migrant families cannot meet this threshold, then it is unlikely they will be able to financially support their elderly parents, further raising costs for Australian taxpayers (e.g. health and aged care).

Back to SBS News:

In November last year, the Coalition passed laws which made changes to the temporary sponsored visas for parents, without Labor’s support.

Labor argued the legislation had terms the party did not agree with, such as limiting the visa to one set of parents per household.

In recent weeks, the Labor party has been critical of the Coalition’s policy on this visa and have taken the Chinese ‘super app’ WeChat to attack it, calling it “a joke”.

Labor has indicated it will announce its policy on the temporary parent visa during the election campaign.

Unbelievably, the open borders nutters at the Labor Party want to increase the number of elderly parental visas per migrant household – because having four elderly people draining Australian taxpayers, crushing infrastructure, and exacerbating the ageing of the population is somehow preferable to two.

Rather than trying to ‘fix’ the structural Budget deficit by cutting back spending on welfare and other important community programs, politicians should first tackle wasteful and illogical programs like elderly parent visas.

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  1. Yup, we have a moral obligation to fund, to the tune of billions of dollars, the hosting of elderly foreign parents. I don’t see what the issue is :/

    On that note, better get back to work to ensure I get in the extra hours to fund it all. Until later 😉

  2. Won’t bringing 2 sets of elderly parents into Australian age the population? I thought we had the current immigration program because Australia already has an aging population.

    So for two middle aged people who have one child, there will be four pensioners. That’s going to age the Australian population very quickly.

    • You know what? Pollies just don’t care any more. The don’t care that they’re caught lying and they don’t care that what they say is full of contradictions and inconsistencies. All they want is for you to STFU and get back to work to pay for their next grand scheme.

      Got it?

  3. An election is one month away. Use the senate to vote in minor parties / independents who have been voicing their concerns on these topics.

    • CanuckDownUnder

      I’m too sick to post a long rant about the Sustainable Australia Party neglecting their core message about immigration being too high, the very reason I joined their party.

      What I will point out is that this week they have patted themselves on the back for a successful NSW campaign (where Animal Justice now have 2 senate seats and SAP have none FFS), and complained about the high price of vegemite at the airport! What are they doing?

      • They’ve gone soft and morphed into NIMBYs.

        I’ve posted about my concern with this before.

      • Great point … I wasn’t suggesting SAP … they are white noise in this political cauldron. I was thinking of the harder core radicals that people see as ‘last hopes’

      • TailorTrashMEMBER

        Perhaps Latham should have gone to SAP ……poor old William Bourke is a tad colourless ……he needs few volts through him

      • Clifford Hayes seems to be doing fine here in Victoria. In his twitter feed, he is linking a lot of issues to the high population growth. He makes a lot of sense. Martin Tye and Peter Strachan who have run for SAP are very vocal in their opposition to high population growth. Three issues that I see for SAP:

        1. They are not linking the high population growth to many issues faced by us to avoid being called the R-word. People still call them R-word anyway (e.g. councillor Stuart James of Monash council)
        2. Tight campaign budgets mean very little advertising, but did see a few signs around Moorabbin in the state election
        3. They need to be a lot more brash to get attention. I mean hold politicians to account like Nick McKim. They should be out there shouting at him that these visas cost taxpayers $400k and people waiting 50 years are paying the cheaper visa price anyway. Let them wait!!!!

      • CanuckDownUnder

        Great points all and they echo my concerns and frustrations with SAP. How many voters are holding their noses and silently supporting PHON since SAP refuse to say “Lower Immigration Now” instead of “Stop Overdevelopment”? Get the word out that they have a choice.

        Repeat after me, wanting lower immigration is not racist!

    • I suggest MB do a federal election overview topic for policies of those minor parties. I will do my bit to vote strategically so that the Senate is flooded with as many recalcitrant parties as possible. No bill shall pass, nothing will get resolved, get stuffed.

      The only place voters have any real voice is in the Senate.

    • Home doesn’t have Medicare paid by generations of Australian taxpayers. Or clean air and water (stewarded by the same taxpayers).

      • Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

        I don’t understand how the mechanics of this work – how do you access Medicare when you are not a PR or citizen ?.

        Don’t doubt that it happens, but how does it work in the context of an ER Dept or GP ?.

        Is it outright fraud through use of a Medicare card of another family member (presumably son/daughter) with a compliant or non-concerned medical practitioner ?.

      • Lenny- my comment is on two levels.

        1) the imported oldies want to be in Australia so they can access Medicare by fraud (no photos on cards). Good Air and water are available to all those physically in Australia, of course.

        2) the younger skilled immigrants PR holders don’t want to go back “home” because doing so will forfeit their legitimate Medicare entitlement. And the air and water thing.

      • Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

        Yes I don’t disagree and it’s a logical human response.

        More interested in the loophole which allows Medicare to be exploited.

      • I live in an area with a bizarre amount of arabic and hindi-speaking medical super-clinics. Waiting rooms are always full of cheerfully socialising elderly recent migrants. The parents and cousins on tourist visa get in by friend/family member with medicare card going in with large family group (“because it’s our culture”)and all demand to be checked for their deathbed illnesses. The GPs who complain get told to shut it or leave… Been going on for years around here. Our little shopping centre of 100 shops has opened 6 new Hindi/Arabic-speaking bulk-billing clinics (and 3 pharmacies) in the past 10 years to cash in..

  4. One other conundrum these permanent residents will face is they are often working for cash in the black economy. Thus their taxable income is quite low, they pay little tax, and make little contribution to their infrastructure footprint.

    But if they declare their income to meet the visa threshold, they will have to pay tax………

    Health care for the elderly is very expensive. Some elderly people die suddenly. For many however, the last few years are a revolving door between their home, a residential aged care facility (nursing home) and a hospital.
    For a few, more healthcare dollars are spent on their last few months of life the the total healthcare costs throughout that person’s life. That extreme scenario is fortunately not typical.
    On average, 10% of total lifetime healthcare costs are incurred in the last 12 months, and around 25% in the last 3 years.

    This is why these people should meet their own healthcare costs. Its not fair to move to another country towards the end of your life, not pay any taxes to that country, and then expect the taxpayers of that country to provide highly subsidised healthcare.
    Private health insurance is an option. But there are numerous problems with this. There are many excesses and exclusions and out-of-pocket expenses. As there is no risk loading (as there is for life or car insurance), forcing elderly (and chronically unwell) elderly to take out private health insurance will force up the premiums for all – at the very time the low risk younger cohort are dropping out of private health insurance anyway as it is too expensive.

    A much better option is a $300,000-400,000 line of credit with an Australian bank. The government can verify this LOC remains in place – if it is terminated (or the available balance falls below a threshold), so is the visa. There are no exclusions – spend it on any health costs you want. The children always say “But nothing will go wrong, mum is healthy and she won’t cost anything.” My response: “Great, when she returns home or dies, you will have your full LOC available and won’t have spent anything – thats a much better deal for you than paying for a private health insurance premium you didn’t need.”

    “Although end-of-life medical spending is often viewed as a major component of aggregate medical expenditure, accurate measures of this type of medical spending are scarce. We used detailed health care data for the period 2009–11 from Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the United States, and the Canadian province of Quebec to measure the composition and magnitude of medical spending in the three years before death. In all nine countries, medical spending at the end of life was high relative to spending at other ages. Spending during the last twelve months of life made up a modest share of aggregate spending, ranging from 8.5 percent in the United States to 11.2 percent in Taiwan, but spending in the last three calendar years of life reached 24.5 percent in Taiwan. This suggests that high aggregate medical spending is due not to last-ditch efforts to save lives but to spending on people with chronic conditions, which are associated with shorter life expectancies.”

    • My parents friends in Sydney, retired and moved to the US for cheap housing, and they could move due to a US daughter status somehow, and during the first week the wife was sick and in hospital with a large bill. Their insurance covered it, but now they are residents they need US based cover which is seriously expensive for what they want. They sold their Sydney home for a lot of dosh, but how they’ll survive there I don’t know as Aussie pension – currency and tx costs will dilute their funds.

      Also, everything around this general topic is toxic, and before long there won’t be any conversation that’s allowed on it probably. Every part of the media, government, focus groups, etc. push it almost daily. I saw in in the EU and it looks to me like it’s on par with the US Dems push to crush any dialogue that does not agree with them.

      This is a global issue, but here in Oz it’s the monetisation of every part of it that sees only a few benefit, and we know who they are.

    • Yeah US health care is seriously expensive. They spend a significantly higher % of GDP (17.2% in 2016) than other countries (Aust 9.6% in 2016). Plus the US has a very large number of people who don’t pay – which increases the price for those who do.

      This is one reason why US employers often provide employees with health insurance as part of their remuneration. Employers are able to negotiate a better deal than individuals. Plus its a mechanism of ensuring the younger low risk cohort don’t opt out – they are automatically part of the insured pool. One downside is that people sometimes feel trapped in their job because there is a good health plan.

      So yes housing and utilities and energy and food are all less expensive in the US. But make sure you look at the whole picture if you decide to move elsewhere to retire.

    • “Fair”? we live in a ‘free sh!t’ world. Everyone and their dog will take it if it’s there. Hell, it’s become so ingrained in the collective psyche that many are demanding it:

      “I’m exercising my right to FREE SH!T!”

      No self reliance, no personal responsibility anymore. We are doomed.

  5. “Rather than trying to ‘fix’ the structural Budget deficit by cutting back spending on welfare and other important community programs, politicians should first tackle wasteful and illogical programs like elderly parent visas”

    If we cut back welfare enough the demand for these visas will definitely evaporate.

  6. My culture says that if you dont like it here then leave and dont let the door hit you on the way out.

    As migrants get a bugger and bugger voting block and real aussies are diluted even more expect to see more policies directed to only migrants

    • Yep that’s about it, in a nutshell. We’re just the poor sods who will have to sit back and fund it all, keeping quiet the whole time so we don’t get labelled with the R-word. The Left see this is poetic justice – evil Whitey getting what he deserves for colonialism etc. They really don’t seem to understand nor care that the country they knew and the societal structures they took for granted may well disappear as more and more voters from superior and enriching cultures are introduced into the mix.

  7. Real sense of entitlement amongst many newcomers.

    Australia will be the next Malaysia with all the tensions under the surface at this rate. Ever been to kl? All ethnic groups doing their own thing separate

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Yes I drew this comparison a few weeks back …..chinese taking the economic control ,Subcontinentals doing the menial stuff and a corrupt (200 year indigenous )elite with the political power (for now )enriching themselves by selling anything not bolted down .
      Meanwhile the bulk of the 200 year old indigenous in their kampongs such as Dubbo ,Bathurst or Wagga in isolated and irrelevant oblivion .

    • The comments about “deserving” things really got to me.

      How long have you been here? How much tax have you paid? How much are your elderly parents going to cost in health expenses?

      Put that on the scales and they don’t deserve much.

  8. We have to decide here in qld which is the best party to disrupt this. Fraser anning. ON. Katter. Aust conservatives.

    Because anyone voting for greens labor or libs has rocks in their head and doesnt care about their kids future

  9. TailorTrashMEMBER

    If 2 people working at a Caltex servo or 711 can’t raise the 10 gorillas to bring in two sets of elderly parents who TF do they think is going to pay
    to take care of their health needs …….some one needs to tell them to fcuk in the direction of off !
    This policy may buy some votes but it’s insane and will accelerate the destruction of Straya .

    • It was once pointed put to me that many people do not and cannot make the connection between Govt spending and the taxpayer.

      They believe the Govt’s resources are virtually endless — a bottomless pit. Quite clearly many of our foreign guests are no different when it comes to this perception. I’ve argued this point incessantly with my father and he just cannot accept that Govt resources are ultimately limited. It’s like a mental block.

  10. reusachtigeMEMBER

    If you guys seriously have a problem with this small issue there’s an easy fix. Just bring in enough young vibrants to cover the cost of these elderly ones via their ongoing tax payments. Not hard.

  11. PR visas should only be given out after 10 years of paying $52k/year income tax to the ATO.

    If they are genuinely skilled, they will have a high income.

    The fake Greens run a low wage immigration program while Portugal enjoys a shrinking population.

    • Jacob, I admire your persistence but it’s like shouting at the wind to stop. It’s not about logic, it’s about virtue signalling and political expediency. And self-interest. Just assume the position ..

    • Agree Jacob, that we should not be granting PR offshore. Migrants should only be given a temporary visa for genuine skills shortages, and then after a qualifying period, once they have proven their value to the economy and job market, and if that skill is still in shortage, then PR is given (out of the 70K a year max we should be offering each year, which would include a reduced humanitarian intake).

  12. Medicare card needs biometrics and photo Id or retinal scan.

    Every single Medicare holder given 1 year to register or lose card

    • Agreed. There are inadequate safeguards around healthcare spending which comprises approx 10% of GDP. Fraud is rife throughout the system – by patients, by illegal use of borrowed cards (or fake cards) and by providers.

      • Info is never checked. I work in the hospital system. Seen people who can’t speak English with full cards

      • I have had someone whose blood group changed between 2014 and 2017!!!!
        When questioned, she admitted she had borrowed someones card as she was visiting Australia and didn’t have insurance and didn’t want to pay….

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Steve, what happens if you report this to the relevant authorities? Or is it frowned upon to report it?

      • “Malone: Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone.“. The Untouchables

        t’s a grey area. Everyone knows what’s going on. But it’s a bit of a hot potato that no one wants to touch.

        The government could decide to have a reporting system where the person reporting was immune from prosecution. The government has done this for mandatory reporting for child abuse.

        So the government could fix this. But chooses not to.

        Meanwhile the fraudster will “know my rights”, scream racism and jump up and down about patient confidentiality

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Roger. Ta.

        Has there been cases of a whistleblower inside the health system being dragged over the coals or ostracised for exposing this type of fraud?

        See, as a non-professional I have no drama in calling out the bullsh!t but I’m wondering how fearful of repercussions are people inside. Could it be career ending?

      • Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

        Steve, this answers my question above.

        If it is as easy as providing a Medicare card which no-one checks then the potential for widespread fraud is mind boggling.

        Would go a long way to explaining waiting lists and costs…..

      • Its pretty hard to crack down on unless the government is determined.

        Sure you can seize the card that was being misused. The owner will just get a replacement card, and say it had somehow been stolen by some unknown person who then misused it. No one will ever know who that unauthorised person is because they were only ever the name of the person on the card (there is no check of a 2nd form of ID). So the only solution to sort it out is to arrest the unidentified person on the spot before they run.

        Then there is the fact people can have a duplicate card – it is sensible for each parent in a family to have a card, but who knows why a single person requires a 2nd card.

        Then there are all the fake cards in circulation. For sale for about $50. Beloved by international students and other long stayers.
        This person demonstrated she could get her hands on high quality fake Medicare cards. Believe it ir not, she was given bail provided she surrendered a passport – “OK, no problem, you have this one…”.
        I heard she has gone missing. Presumably she left the country on a different passport and is sitting back in China laughing.

  13. The trouble is, this cohort of complaining migrants don’t think of these as ‘economic migrants’. Instead, as ‘skilled migrants’ they view themselves as saviors to Australian and its economy, therefore they are demanding more.

    It’s interesting none of these stories come from adult children migrants from Ireland, UK, France or Poland demanding we let their elderly parents come here to stay.

    • That may be part of it.

      But I suspect a larger part is the ageing parents with failing health in places like Chindia with little aged care mean the children in Australia are under significant pressure to assist. They can assist by returning to Chindia and looking after them They can assist by sending large sums of money back home. Or they can assist by getting them out here onto our welfare system. Guess which they choose.

      Kids with parents in UK or France are in a different situation.

  14. Just like big business wants their cheap coolies, so do these migrants. When they bring their elderly parents here they get cheap baby sitters, cooks and cleaners. They are complaining because it will take longer for their parents to ‘work off’ their visa costs.

    • My GPs (Bangladeshi,Pakistani, Indian) laugh/complain that 98% of their patients are the lonely-well – isolated homesick grandmothers brought out here as family slaves. Most of them hate it but cooking/cleaning/babysitting 120 hrs pw while the grandkids grow up then getting free health/aged care until death saves their international student kids a load of money long-term.