Elderly couple
An elderly couple looks out at the ocean as they sit on a park bench in La Jolla, California Reuters/Mike Blake

New visa for migrant parents allows them to stay for up to ten years in Australia, but are barred from settling in the country and need to pay $20,000. Their children are required to pay for their private health cover as the government seeks to tighten its budget.

Malcolm Turnbull government pledged the parent visas on the eve of the 2016 campaign. Now, at least 15,000 people every year would be able to bring their parents to the country for up to a decade following the immigration shakeup, SBS reports. The new visa is expected to be officially announced by the government next week, along with the Budget.

In an exclusive interview with the news outlet, assistant immigration minister Alex Hawke explains that health care costs results to a great expense to the taxpayers. “That's the problem that governments around the world have been wrestling with,” he adds.

Last year, the government publicised a discussion paper that laid out the terms of the parent visa. Alex Hawke, at that time, said the program would be effective by July 2017. People who want to bring their parents to Australia must be Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton previously said the government aimed to help reunite families without an added cost to the health system. At the same time of the election announcement, he stated that the Coalition acknowledged that several Australians, which include the increasing South Asian and Chinese communities, were dealing with pressures caused by parting of children from parents, as well as grandchildren from grandparents. Under the new visa, Hawke says grandparents will be able to take care of their grandchildren while parents are at work.

But experts see some issues with the parent’s visa program. Henry Sherrell, an Australian National University migration expert, says the amount needed to bring parents is a concern and that the recently announced plan has no alleyway to permanent residency for the parents. "There are some things to be concerned about. The costs look extremely high for a temporary visa,” he said.

Sherrell added that while other temporary visas needed a private health insurance, this one was different. He said this was one of the first instances where temporary migrants will be liable for public health cover in the country. Meanwhile, the Business Council of Australia’s chief executive, Jennifer Westacott said the latest “fear-mongering” on 457 visas “did not match the evidence," Guardian Australia reported.

In case you missed it:

27,000 visas axed. Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) secretary Michael Pezzullo confirmed that more than 27,000 visas have been cancelled in the first half of the current financial year for a “variety of reasons." Meanwhile, the new $20,000 parental visa has left those who campaigned for it disappointed and called it a "deceit and blackmailing." See full story.

The new 457 visa. Turnbull government abolished the 457 visa and replaced it with two new visas. It will also remove the English language salary exemption threshold from July 1. Here's the story.

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