Balance of Family Test

The Balance of Family test is designed to determine the extent of the parent’s links to their children in Australia and ensure only those with close ties to Australia are eligible for parent visas. The balance of family test is concerned with the numeric distribution and geographical location of the children of the applicant and the applicant’s partner and, if applicable, of the former partners of either the applicant. The test does not consider qualitative matters such as the closeness or the breakdown of the parent-child relationships or cultural factors dictating which child should take care of an aged parent.

A parent will meet the balance of family test if at least half of the parent’s children and step-children are “eligible children” or there are more “eligible children” than children living in any other single country. In short, “eligible children” include:

  • Australian citizens;
  • Australian permanent residents usually resident in Australia; or
  • eligible New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia

compared to children who are resident in any other one country

The department will not waive this test, even in compelling or exceptional circumstances.

For example:

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

You need to pass it if you are applying for one of these visas:

Table 1: Examples of calculating when a parent would pass the balance-of-family test
Total number of children Children usually living in Australia Children in country A Children in country B Children in country C Children in country D Passes 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

Your children

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

Step children born from polygamous or concurrent relationships are not counted in the balance-of-family test.

Live permanently in Australia

To be living permanently in Australia, your children must be:

  • Australian citizens
  • Australian permanent residents who usually live in Australia
  • eligible New Zealand citizens who usually live in Australia

We don’t consider your children living in Australia on a temporary visa as living in Australia permanently.

If you do not know where your children are, we consider they are in the country where they were last known to live.

Eligible New Zealand citizens

You are an eligible New Zealand citizen if you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and were:

  • in Australia on 26 February 2001
  • in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001
  • assessed as protected Special Category Visa (SCV) holders before 26 February 2004

Talk to us as your trusted registered Migration Agents in Melbourne and be prepared to maximise your chances of Australian permanent residency.