Pensioner faces a complex visa puzzle

A health scare means a penniless relative needs to come back home.


I am an aged pensioner, Australian by birth, living in Adelaide. A relative, also an Australian aged pensioner, married a young woman in a foreign country about six years ago, and they have been living there ever since.

He recently had a health scare and wants to return to Australia so he can receive medical care. They appear to have absolutely no resources or assets, and I am not in a position to assist.

They have intimated they will need accommodation, and she presumably will want to find work, being a much younger woman.

There are no doubt also legal issues with visas and the like. I have urged them to contact their local Australian embassy immediately.

Is there some other organisation we can contact for advice and assistance?


Information can be complex, and can vary according to individual circumstances, and from one country to another. However, to live in Australia a valid Australian visa is usually required, which may let a person work for a short time or for several years.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection ( provides information on all aspects of immigration.

Having been out of Australia for more than five years your relative will not have a return visa, so his acceptance of entry may be delayed while his identity is checked. It is important to apply for the correct type of visa. A medical treatment visa (subclass 602) may be appropriate. His wife also may be able to apply for this as his support person.

Applications are processed by the nearest immigration office. The current time is 15 months for partners, depending on circumstances.

All visa applications should be lodged online or posted, using forms from the department, to the nearest Australian visa centre. A Partner Migration booklet available from the department covers eligibility, application process, evidence of a genuine relationship and so on.

It is advisable your relative contact government departments only, as scams exist online. You are also advised not to be a sponsor unless able to be fully responsible for them.

On arrival they must contact Centrelink in regard to pensions and other support including job search and training.

For help finding accommodation try the leading settlement agency, The Migrant Resource Centre of South Australia (

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