An Orphan Relative (subclass 837) visa is for a child whose parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or of unknown whereabouts. It allows a child in this situation to live permanently with their sponsoring relative in Australia.
The sponsoring relative usually applies on behalf of the child. The child must be inside Australia when the application is lodged and when the application is decided.
To apply for this visa, a child must:
- Be in 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 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 child to:
- 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 another visa to enter Australia.
The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.
An individual might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. They are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.
The child’s parents:
A child is eligible 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:
An assurance of support might be asked for the child so that welfare costs for some migrants are not borne by the Australian community.
Do not provide an assurance of support unless asked for.
When a child might not be eligible for this visa:
A child might not be able to apply for this visa if they are already in Australia and either they or their sponsoring relative:
- Do not currently hold a substantive visa
- Have not applied for the child to get an Orphan Relative visa within twelve months of their previous substantive visa ceasing.
A child whose parents simply do not want to care for the child cannot apply for this visa. The parents must be genuinely unable to care for the child because they are dead, incapacitated or missing.
In addition to the above-mentioned conditions, there are other factors and criteria to be taken into consideration.