An older woman holds her grandchild while surrounded by family.

Scoping project examines Contributory Parent visas

Seniors Rights Victoria is undertaking a scoping project into elder abuse and its relation to Contributory Parent visas. Older people who migrate to Australia, often to assist with care for their grandchildren, can sometimes find themselves without access to Centrelink payments and health and social services if they are subject to elder abuse.

This issue was highlighted in the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) report on elder abuse, and many organisations have noted that older people on Contributory Parent visas may be at increased risk of elder abuse, while facing barriers to accessing support.

Under the conditions of this visa, an ‘assurer’ is required to provide an assurance of support (AoS) so that, when in Australia, the visa holder will not rely on Centrelink benefits. The assurer commits to repay the Australian Government any recoverable Centrelink payments made to the visa holder during the first 10 years of Australian residency.

In the ALRC report, a number of organisations submitted that Contributory Parent visa holders who experience elder abuse face barriers to accessing social security benefits and other social services. In order to mitigate these vulnerabilities, organisations argued that older migrants on Contributory Parent visas who experience elder abuse should be accorded the same social security rights as spousal visa holders who experience family violence. 

Through desktop research and interviews this project aims to explore:

  • Contributory Visas and Assurances of Support – processes, costs, rights and obligations
  • policy rationale for the family violence exception in migration law
  • literature on elder abuse as family violence
  • organisational knowledge of elder abuse perpetrated against older people on contributory visas, current supports available and barriers to accessing support.

We hope this scoping project will assist Seniors Rights Victoria to advocate for legal reform on this issue.  If you would like to participate in the interviews or discuss this project, please contact Carmela Quimbo at srvplacement@seniorsrights.org.au or on (03) 9655 2147.