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It's FRIDAY Question Time

Every Friday we answer one of our Facebook follower's questions. A short reply is posted on Facebook,, but we also like to spend a bit more time providing you with as much detail, and some useful tips, right here. Here is Today's Question: I have a friend who is nearly 50, she has a son who is 23 and is a carpenter. She’s desperate to emigrate with him as he’s an only child . What would be her best option please? Short Answer: The only way your friend could be added to her son't application is if she were wholly dependent on him. So, living with him, and depending on him to provide for her needs. Sometimes we get clients whose parents live with them, and, say, look after the grandkids while the adult children look after the parents, but I will guess that that's not the case with your friend.

Another option for her would be to apply for a parent visa. But she's only be able to do that once her son has his permanent visa AND has been resident in Australia for 2 years. There are a few different parent visas available. Some are very expensive. Others are a lot cheaper but they take forever (ie: about 30 years) to process. 

If your friend has quite a bit of money up her sleeve then she could go out to Australia as an international student. She's have to enroll in an approved course, but if she fancies the idea of studying at this time of her life, it may be a good option for her. The good thing about the student visa is that she's be able to work up to 40 hours every fortnight. And full-time during during the college holidays. Although the visa application itself is not expensive, enrolling as an international student can be expensive (20K to 30K a year). 

I should also say, if your friend has any serious medical issues that may complicate any permanent visa application.

Long Answer:

Here is a bit more detail about each of the options I mentioned in the short answer: Who can be a Dependant Adding a "dependant" to a visa application: When you are applying for an Australian visa you can almost always add your immediate family members to your visa application. That normally means your partner and your children. But sometimes you can also add a family "Dependant". A Dependant is defined by the Home Affairs Department as an individual who is wholly or substantially dependent on you, and has been for quite a period of time, for financial and other support. So, for example, if the family member does not live with you, and has a regular income, or a pension, he or she is not likely to be recognised as your Dependant. Which Courses can you enrol in as an International Student

If you are considering applying for an Australian Student Visa you can only enrol in a course that is recognised as a genuine course by the Home Affairs Department. All of the recognised courses are listed on the CRICOS website. The website is great because you can search for courses by sector or by State/Territory or by institution:

There are thousands of courses available, many are provided by TAFEs, not just Universities. So if you have a passion for a subject, and you can afford to pay international student fees, studying in Australia can be a great option. The Australian Government has set up a great website, it's called Study In Australia, to help people decide on courses, and basically to find out a lot more about studying in Australia:

Parent Visa

Parent Visas for Australia are available to people who have children who live in Australia as permanent residents or Australian citizens. But there is a catch. Actaully, there are two catches: Balance of Family Test:

If you have more than 1 child, then the majority of your children have to live in Australia, or outside of your home country, as permanent residents or citizens. For example, if you are from the UK and you have 3 children, 1 lives in Australia as a Citizen, the second lives in Australia as a Working Holiday Visa holder (temporary visa holder), and the third lives in the US, you do NOT meet the Balance of Family test.

Cost and Processing times:

There are a few parent visas available, but they basically fall into two main groups:

- Contributory Parent Visas: These visas are the "quick" parent visas. By quick the Department means that they are taking about 3 years to process at the moment! (Time really is relative.) These are also the expensive visas. So for a couple you are looking at a total cost of about AUD$92,350, plus a $14,000 bond (which you will get back in 10 years and which does pay out interest every year).   - Aged Parent Visa: this visa is a lot cheaper, the costs run into about $10,200 plus $5,000 bond (the bond is returned) money for a couple, but this visa has an extremely long processing time. At the moment it will take about 30 years for you to get this visa. So if you are 50 now, you will not have a visa until you are 80! You can apply for this visa in Australia, so there is no issue with the processing time from that perspective, since you can then stay in Australia for the processing period, but if you become seriously ill during the 30 year period, and then you are asked to complete a medical check to show that you still qualify for the visa, your application could fail even though you have, say, been waiting for the visa for 20 years and of course by that time Australia is your home! Also, you may not be able to work while you are waiting for the visa to be processed. And you will be expected to get private health insurance because you will not be covered by Medicare. So all in all, the visa really isn't as cheap as it sounds - private health insurance for non-residents is not cheap!

Partner Visa

Of course if Colleen's friend is lucky enough to fall in love with a lovely Australian then a partner or a fiance or a spouse visa is always also an option. So it may be a good idea to hit the dating websites! #AustralianVisa #AustralianParentVisa #AustralianStudentVisa #CRICOS #AustralianPartnerVisa #AustralianVisaFAQs #SortOutMyAustrallianVisa #AustralianDepartmentofHomeAffairs

This is a photo of a Southern Cassowary, taken by David Close. Cassowaries are quite amazing and rarely sighted birds. Your best bet of seeing one is to go up to Cairns, in North Queensland. Cassowaries belong to the same bird family as Emus and Ostriches. They are shy beautiful birds, but they also have a 3 toed foot that can be used as a very dangerous weapon. This is from Ernest Thomas Gillard's book Living with Birds: The inner or second of the three toes is fitted with a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease. There are many records of natives being killed by this bird.

So if you ever meet a Cassowary, watch out if it raises it's foot!

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