How does the new MoFU Regulations affect parent visas?

The increased rigidity in the member of family unit (MoFU) definition is no small barrier. Prior to the revision, the MoFu (certain visas) would be inclusive of children over 18 who were still getting an education are financially dependent. No upper age limit existed. The new ruling has an upper age limit of 23; children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are financially dependent are still admissible but those past 23 are not.

This is particular wreaks havoc for those who are applying for contributory parent visas. It would not make sense to move to Australia and leave your child behind. As an eligibility criteria for parent visas is passing the balance of family test, it would likely mean that there is  little to no immediate family left to keep an eye on your sibling.


Balance of Family test

  • At least half of the children live permanently in Australia and are Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens
  • More of your children live permanently in Australia than in any other country

It gets worse. Age is not dependent on the time of application, but the time of decision. As parent visas are notorious for taking a long time to process – at 24 months being considered quick – this means a 21 year old secondary applicant who is not processed before he or she turns 23 will be rejected from the application.


Let’s run through a few scenarios..

In the following scenarios, we assume that the applicants (parent/s) meet all other eligibility criteria.

  1. The applicant has a daughter who is an Australian permanent resident. She has one other younger son who is 15 years of age at the time of application. She wishes to apply for a parent visa and include him as a secondary applicant. Her younger son will be successful.
  2. A couple has two daughters, one of which who is an Australian citizen. They wish to apply for permanent residency in Australia through a parent visa. Their non-citizen daughter will be 18 years of age at the time of application. She is entering her tertiary education and is financially dependent on her parents. Contributory parent applications take 2 or more years to process. Their daughter will still be under 23 at the time of decision and will be successful.
  3. The applicant has three children. Two of her children are under 18 years of age, but only one is an Australian permanent resident. She cannot apply for a parent visa as she does not meet the balance of family test.
  4. The applicant has a daughter who is a permanent resident of Australia. He has one other son who will be 22 years old at the time of application. The son is still studying and is financially dependent. As parent visas take over 2 years to process, his son will be past the age of 24 and will not be successful in the visa application
  5. A couple has two sons. One is an Australian citizen. Their other son is 25 years old and is still financially dependent. They cannot include him as a secondary applicant.

This regulation came into effect on 19 November 2016. Any applications before this date will not be affected.

What are the options? A student visa would be the ideal option, but international student fees are very much more expensive. Contributory parent visas already run in the bracket of AUD$50-60 K, but there is little other choice. Further to this, on completion of studies, the child may not have a direct path if he or she does not meet requirements for other visas.

It’s a harsh ruling and we feel for anyone in a situation where a sibling who is still studying and financially dependent cannot be included.

Come and speak to experienced agents like us about what the options for your family are. We will give you accurate and honest advice.