TEST OF FAMILY BALANCE - Australian Migration agents | Immigration Lawyers in Melbourne & Canberra | Global Vision Migration


The Balance of Family test is used to examine the strength of a parent’s ties to their children in Australia, ensuring that only individuals with strong ties to the country are granted parent visas. The numeric distribution and geographic location of the applicant’s and partner’s children, as well as, if appropriate, the prior partners of either applicant, are the focus of the balance of family test. The test does not take into account qualitative characteristics such as parent-child relationships’ closeness or dissolution, or cultural norms determining which kid should look after an elderly parent.

If at least half of a parent’s children and stepchildren are “eligible children,” or if there are more “eligible children” than children in any other single country, the parent passes the balance of family test. In a nutshell, “eligible children” are:


  • Citizens of Australia;
  • Permanent residents of Australia usually live in Australia; alternatively
  • Citizens of New Zealand who are normally residents in Australia are eligible.
  • when compared to youngsters who live in any other country

Even in compelling or unusual circumstances, the department will not waive this test.


Consider the following scenario:

  • The parent will pass the test if they and their partner have four children, two of whom are Australian citizens and two of whom live abroad as foreign nationals.
  • If a parent and their partner have three children, one of whom is an Australian citizen, one of whom is a temporary visa holder in Australia, and the third of whom is a foreign national resident overseas, the parent does not meet the requirement.

If you’re applying for one of these visas, you’ll need to pass it:

  • 103- Parent 
  • 143 – Participating Parent
  • 173 – Parental Contribution (Temporary)
  • 804 – Parent Who Is Getting Older
  • 864 — Contributory Parent in their Eighties
  • 884 – Contributory Parent in their Eighties (Temporary)
Table 1: Examples of calculating when a parent would pass the balance-of-family test
1 1 0 0 0 0 Yes
2 1 1 0 0 0 Yes
3 1 2 0 0 0 No
3 1 1 1 0 0 No
4 2 2 0 0 0 Yes
4 1 1 1 1 0 No
4 1 2 1 0 0 No
5 1 1 1 1 1 No
5 2 1 1 1 0 No
5 3 2 0 0 0 Yes
6 2 2 2 0 0 No

Children of yours

DHA count all your children, including step children and adopted children.

and will not count them as your children if they:

  • are deceased
  • have been removed from their parents’ legal custody by adoption or court order
  • are registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as refugees and live in a camp operated by the UNHCR
  • live in a country where they suffer persecution or human rights abuse and cannot be reunited with their parents in another country

A step child is either:

  • your current partner’s child, or
  • under 18 years of age and the legal responsibility of you or your partner and is:
    • the child of your former partner, or
    • the child of a former partner of your current partner

The balance-of-family criteria do not include stepchildren born from polygamous or contemporaneous unions.

Permanently residing in Australia

Your children must meet the following criteria in order to live permanently in Australia:

  • Citizens of Australia
  • Permanent citizens of Australia who live in Australia on a regular basis
  • New Zealand citizens who live in Australia on a regular basis are eligible.

We do not consider your children who are in Australia on a temporary visa to be permanent residents.

If you have no idea where your children are, we’ll assume they’re in the country where they were last seen.

Citizens of New Zealand who are eligible

If you were born in New Zealand and arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport, you are a New Zealand citizen.

  • On February 26, 2001, in Australia
  • in Australia for 12 months in the two years preceding February 26, 2001
  • Before February 26, 2004, those who held a protected Special Category Visa (SCV) were examined.

Talk to us, your Melbourne-based licensed migration agents, and be prepared to increase your chances of obtaining permanent residency in Australia.

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