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This article was written by Tanguy Mwilambwe - National Practice Director - Brisbane

Tanguy is the National Practice Director in the areas of Administrative Law and Immigration Law. He is able to assist clients in court matters throughout most Australian jurisdictions, in relation to Administrative and Immigration decisions. Tanguy has appeared in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, state courts (including Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts)...

Balance Of Family Test


The balance of family test is a test conducted by the Department of Home Affairs to determine a Parent visa applicant’s family ties to Australia.

A parent meets the test if at least half of their children and stepchildren are eligible children, or there are more eligible children living in Australia than in any other country. Stepchildren from previous relationships may be included in the test if they are aged under 18 and the applicant has an order for parenting, guardianship or custody.

Who is an eligible child?

Children of the applicant and their partner, including stepchildren and adopted children, are eligible if they are Australian citizens, permanent Australian residents usually resident in Australia, or New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia.

To be an eligible New Zealand citizen, the person must have arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and have been:

  • in Australia on 26 February 2001 and a Special Category Visa (SCV) holder;
  • in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years before 26 February 2001;
  • assessed as a protected SCV older before 26 February 2001.

The test does not consider whether the children are dependants.

If a child’s whereabouts are unknown, they are considered a resident of their last known usual country of  residence.

Children excluded from the test

Children are not eligible to be counted in a balance of family test if they:

  • are deceased;
  • have been removed from their parents’ custody by adoption or court order;
  • are registered as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and are living in a UNHCR camp;
  • live in a country where they suffer persecution or human rights abuse and cannot be reunited with their parents in another country;
  • are born outside a partner relationship from casual or polygamous relationships;
  • are a temporary visa holder.

When does the test apply?

The balance of family test is compulsory for applicants for the visas of:

  • 103 – Parent;
  • 143 – Contributory parent;
  • 143 – Contributory parent (temporary);
  • 804 – Aged parent;
  • 864 – Contributory aged parent;
  • 884 – Contributory aged parent.

A person who fails the balance of family test may be eligible to apply for another type of visa, such as an 838 Aged Dependent Relative visa.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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