MEDIA RELEASE - HELPING COMMUNITIES STAY TOGETHER - 18 JUNE 2016

A Shorten Labor Government will extend provisions in the Visitor Visa program, strengthening migrant communities and helping families to be able to stay together longer.

Migrants make a valuable contribution to Australian society - overseas migration represents approximately 55 per cent of Australia’s population growth, and almost one in two Australians has a parent born overseas.

Cultivating these rich cultural ties is good for our communities, and good for the future of our country.

That’s why Labor will amend the terms and conditions of the Visitor Visa to enable parents to stay in Australia for a continuous period of up to three years – an increase from the current period of up to 12 months.

After the three-year period is completed, parents will only have to leave Australia for four weeks, compared to six months under the current requirements. 

Labor will introduce a mandatory requirement for visa holders to purchase a health insurance policy with an Australian company prior to entering Australia. This, along with a bond of $5,000 per visa holder, will ensure that ageing parents will not add to the load on Australian medical and social services.

The Liberals attempted to abolish some parent visa categories in 2014, and when this failed, they put parent visas as the lowest priority of processing.

Their decisions undermine the contribution that multicultural communities make to Australian society, and completely disregard the benefits which come with keeping family units together.

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure Australia has progressive multiculturalism policies which strengthen our ethnic communities and embrace Australia’s rich, multicultural patchwork.

SATURDAY, 18 JUNE 2016