A Carer visa allows eligible applicants to come to Australia to care for their Australian based relatives who must either be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. The relative must also suffer from a medical condition which leads to a need for assistance in practical aspects of daily.
There are two categories of carer visa. A subclass 116 Carer Visa is made offshore, while a subclass 836 Carer Visa is made onshore. Aside from this difference, both visas are identical.
The applicant for a carer visa must be sponsored by an Australian relative or that relative’s partner, if they live together. The sponsoring relative must be over the age of 18 and usually reside in Australia. By sponsoring an applicant, the sponsor gives a written agreement that they will provide support, financial assistance and accommodation to the applicant and any accompanying family members for the first two years of residency in Australia, where a 116 visa is granted, or for the first two years after the grant of the visa, where a 836 visa is granted.
Members of the applicant’s family are also able to accompany the applicant to Australia provided they meet certain requirements. A carer visa also allows the applicant to work and study in Australia, receive subsidised healthcare, access certain social security payments and sponsor people for permanent residence. The applicant is also eligible for permanent residence. As a carer the applicant may also be entitled to receive ‘carer payments’.
As stated above, the Australian relative or a member of the relative’s family must suffer from a medical condition severe enough to cause physical, intellectual or sensory impairment which impacts their ability to attend to the practical aspects of daily life, such as eating, bathing, dressing and the ability to move around. The type of assistance which the carer will provide must be a form of assistance which cannot be reasonably provided by any other relative or provided by welfare, hospital, nursing or community services. The assistance which is required of the carer must also be likely to be required for a period of more than two years.
The medical condition of the person requiring care must be assessed by Health Services Australia (HSA). HSA will then provide a certificate which determines to what extent the medical condition has on the person’s ability to attend to their daily needs and give the medical condition an ‘impairment rating’. At present, the impairment rating needs to be 30 or higher.
The carer must also be willing and able to give the continuing and substantial care which is required of them. As a carer you must fully understand the nature of the assistance required and applicants will be counselled about this as part of the visa application process.
In addition to the need to show that the applicant has a permanent or long term need for assistance it is also a requirement to demonstrate that the assistance required cannot reasonably be obtained from Australian relatives, or welfare, hospital or community services.