The carer visa is a visa for a family member to come to, or stay in Australia, to care for their Australian relative, or to assist their Australian relative in caring for a member of their family unit, who is afflicted by a medical condition that requires attentive and long term care.

This is a permanent visa. Overseas applicants apply for subclass 116 and onshore applicants apply for subclass 836.



The applicant needs to demonstrate that they need to be in Australia to care for a relative in Australia, or assist a relative in providing care to a member of their family unit in Australia who has a long term medical condition. The applicant must be sponsored by their Australian relative.


The sponsor 

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Australian permanent resident, citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Settled in Australia
  • A relative of the applicant or cohabiting spouse or de facto partner of a relative of the applicant
  • Has a medical condition or has a member of the family unit in Australia who has a long term medical condition



  • Spouse or de facto partner
  • Child, parent, brother or sister or step equivalent
  • a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew, or step equivalent


Member of the family unit

  • Spouse or de facto partner
  • Child or step child


Read: How “settled” is defined


Person requiring assistance

The person requiring assistance must be usually resident in Australia. Usually resident is based two main factors, being, the physical residence of the person, and if the person has intention to continue residence in Australia.


Medical condition of the person requiring assistance

Nature of impairment

The medical condition must one that is existing, causes physical, intellectual or sensory impairment and excludes the person from being able to carry out practical aspects of their daily life.

Practical aspects of daily life includes bathing, going to the bathroom, preparing or purchasing food and other essentials and basic house cleaning. Impairment that prevents a person from engaging in activities that are not essential to basic living, such as a knee injury that prevents the person from playing sports, is not one that is considered to require the assistance of the carer.

The medical condition must also be long term, requiring direct, significant and continual assistance for at least 2 years. In situations where the medical condition is assessed to improve with treatment, where the person will regain the ability to independently carry out basic daily activities, or where the medical condition is terminal and the person is unlikely to live for 2 years, the impairment is not considered to require a carer.


Medical assessment

To demonstrate that the person , the person must undergo a medical assessment by Bupa Medical Services for which they will receive a certificate with an impairment rating. The impairment rating received will play a role in assessing the degree of assistance required.

Find: Bupa Medical Visa Services

Because the medical condition must be one that is already existing, it is important that evidence is provided that the relative has already commenced the health assessment. Bupa will issues an official letter confirming that an appointment has been made for the medical examination. If the examination has already been completed then the certificate should be provided.

The certificate needs to produced within three months from the time of application. If the certificate already exists, it is valid for 18 months from its date of issue. If the Bupa certificate is over 2 years old, but the impairment rating was high or the nature of the medical condition is unlikely to have changed significantly, there may not be need for a new medical assessment. All assessments must take place in Australia.


Assistance not otherwise reasonably provided or obtainable

In addition to the existence of a medical condition, there is a need to demonstrate that the substantial and continuing assistance cannot be provided from within Australia. This includes help from other relatives who are Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens, as well as welfare, hospital, nursing or community services in Australia.

In cases where partial assistance from relatives or services within Australia is being received, it needs to be demonstrated that it is insufficient in meeting the substantial and continuing care required for the person with the medical condition, and that the remaining further assistance is not reasonably provided or obtainable.


Other relatives in Australia

If there are existing relatives in Australia, the following factors will be considered:

  • The number of relatives already in Australia
  • The nature and extent of the assistance required
  • Who is currently providing the required assistance
  • Where the person requiring assistance lives
  • Where any relatives in Australia live
  • Any evidence of ongoing close family relationships
  • The reasons given as to why relatives in Australia claim to be unwilling or unable to provide the assistance

Because of the nature of family relationships and life commitments, there is no preset rules on determining if existing family members are capable of providing the necessary support. For example, there may be 3 other relatives in Australia but each are with young families and live in different states. It is not reasonable to expect that they will be able to provide the necessary assistance.

Where relatives reside close by, commitments such as full time work, study, and care for other relatives come into play. It will be considered if, in combination with available medical, welfare and community services, these other Australian relatives are still unable to provide the necessary care. This is also affected by how demanding the medical condition is.


Available services in Australia

Evidence will need to be provided on efforts that have been made to obtain assistance and why it insufficient or is unreasonable to obtain. For example, if the person with a medical condition requires attendance at a certain special care facility that is very far away or only available for a limited amount of hours.

The Bupa certificate will also provide some details as to whether the type of assistance needed can reasonably be obtained from services in the area of residence.


Applicant is able to provide assistance

The applicant will be interviewed during which they will be assessed on if they are willing and are capable of providing substantial and continuing assistance.

The greatest stress point in the application for this visa is in demonstrating that the care required is not reasonably obtainable from relatives or services within Australia, as it is dependent on a large number of circumstances such as the nature of the medical condition, other relatives and their personal situation, location, finances, family situation and so forth.

Unfortunately, this is a capped visa, which means that the number of places allocated is limited, which may result in the waiting time being long and unpredictable. When a cap is reached, applicants wait in a queue for consideration in a next visa programme year, subject to places becoming available. Applications are considered in order of their queue date. This could result on a lot of strain on the family with a person with a medical condition in Australia. It would be important to have the application lodged as soon as possible.