An Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117) is for a child whose parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or of unknown whereabouts. It allows a child in this situation to travel to and stay permanently with their sponsoring relative in Australia.
The sponsoring relative usually applies on behalf of the child. The child must be outside Australia when the application is lodged and when the application is decided.
To apply for this visa, a child must:
- Lodge their application outside Australia
- Be younger than 18 years old
- Be sponsored by their relative who is:
- The brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle or step-equivalent of the child
- Older than 18 years of age
- An Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
- Not be married or in a de facto relationship
- Be in the situation where their parents are unable to care for them
- Meet health and character requirements.
What does this visa allow for:
This is a permanent residence visa. It allows the individual and any family members who have also been granted this visa to:
- Travel to and stay in Australia indefinitely
- Work and study in Australia
- Enroll in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
- Apply for Australian citizenship(if they are eligible)
- Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
- Travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, they will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia).
The child’s parents:
A child can apply for this visa if their parents are not able to care for them. This could be because the parents:
- Are dead
- Are incapable of caring for the child
- Cannot be found.
A child cannot apply for this visa if their parents could care for them but do not want to.
If the parents cannot be found, the application will need to show how long they have been missing and what has been done to try to find them.
This visa can be granted only if the individual can show one of the following for a child younger than 18 years of age:
- They have the written consent of each person who can legally decide where the child lives
- The laws of the child’s home country permit the removal of the child
- It is consistent with any Australian child order.
This visa will not usually be granted if it is against the best interests of a child younger than 18 years of age.
Assurance of support:
Assurance of support for the child might be asked for so that welfare costs for some migrants are not borne by the Australian community. Do not provide an assurance of support unless asked for.
Other obligations apply if the individual has agreed to provide an assurance of support for the child.
Who can become the sponsor:
An individual can sponsor a child for this visa if they are the child’s relative and the parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or cannot be located.
To be a sponsor, an individual must:
- Be the brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or step-equivalent of the child
- Have turned 18 years of age
- Usually live in Australia and have done so for a reasonable period
- Be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen
A sponsor who is an eligible New Zealand citizen must also meet health requirements. They can complete the visa application forms.
As the sponsoring relative the individual must:
- Be responsible for the cost to the Australian Government of the child living in Australia
- Provide adequate accommodation and enough financial support to meet the child’s reasonable living needs for the child’s first two years in Australia
- Help the child settle in Australia
- Support the child to attend any required English language classes.
The individual must inform in writing if the child’s circumstances change in a way that could affect their eligibility for a visa, or their eligibility to sponsor the child.
In addition to the above-mentioned conditions, there are other factors and criteria to be taken into consideration.