VISA CHANGES: Changes are in the wind for both classes of retirement visas.
VISA CHANGES: Changes are in the wind for both classes of retirement visas. MartinPrescott

Retirement visa changes not to be ignored

RETIREES with 405 and 410 visas should keep a close eye on the Department of Home Affairs website as changes to those visas are possible from now until July 1, 2018.

It appears that the Federal Government is looking to open up permanent residency opportunities under the Parent Visa Program for 405 and 410 visa holders.

Richard Timpson of Timpson Immigration Lawyers says the Government has flagged that the Investor Retirement Visa (405) and the Retirement Visa (410) are being reviewed and any legislation changes around these visas will be noted on the government website in the week leading up to July 1 and beyond.

"The onus will be on the visa holder to bring an application," Mr Timpson said. "If you know of someone affected by this, it's important from July 1 they exercise what rights they have towards becoming permanent residents because it's in their interests to move away from the arrangement that they are on at the moment."

The 410 visa is closed to new applications while the 405 visa is likely to also close imminently. Existing visa holders were able to perpetually renew their visa as long as they meet the various visa requirements, some of which are quite onerous.

"Every four to five years they have to apply for a renewal of their visa," Mr Timpson said. Each renewal, depending on the visa type, can cost in excess of $12,000. "If they don't renew, they become unlawful and are liable to be detained," he added.

For 405 holders, they also have to reinvest a significant amount of money back into government bonds and pay for private health insurance. "When people are getting on in life and they have money saved away, but they don't have access to that money in real terms because they have to reinvesting all of it or a lot of it into these bonds to continue to hold their visa," Mr Timpson said.

For some people, they have been paying these sums for a decade or more.

It's been a constant conversation with these visa holders as to why there isn't a pathway for them to become permanent residents. If this proposed pathway is created these visa holders may be able to access Medicare and increase their work hours.

For anyone wanting further information, they can contact the Department of Home Affairs, a migration agent or immigration lawyer.