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The Minister has the power to 'cap' or limit the number of visas which can be granted each year in a particular visa subclass.
This limit, or cap, applies only for the migration program year in which it is introduced. When a cap is reached, applicants then wait in a queue for visa grant consideration in a following year, subject to places becoming available. Applications are considered for grant in order of their queue date as places become available.
This means that when the number of visas set by the minister for a visa class for the migration program year has been reached, no further visas can be granted in that program year.
Numbers in the queue are subject to:
- changes to planning levels
- changes in demand for a particular visa
- fluctuations due to visa grants, refusals and withdrawals
- fluctuations due to successful review cases which are given priority.
See:Fact Sheet 21 – Managing the Migration Program
Special circumstances of a compelling or compassionate nature
It is the nature of Family migration that most applications have compelling and compassionate elements. Consequently, it is considered that the fairest way of processing visa applications subject to capping and queuing is in date order.
See:Fact Sheet 37 – Processing Priorities for the Family Migration Stream
Partner category visas:
- Partner (subclasses 309/100 and 820/801) visas cannot be capped.
- Prospective Marriage (fiancé) (subclass 300) visas might be subject to capping.
Child category visas:
- Child (subclasses 101 and 802) visas, Dependent Child (subclass 445) visa, Orphan Relative (subclasses 117 and 837) visa and Adoption (subclass 102) visas cannot be capped.
Other Family category visas:
- Aged Dependent Relative (subclasses 114 and 838) visas, Remaining Relative (subclasses 115 and 835) visas and Carer (subclasses 116 and 836) visas are subject to capping.
See: Other Family Visa Queue
Parent category visas:
- Parent and Aged parent (subclass 103 and 804) visas are subject to capping. Contributory Parent (subclass 173, 143, 884 and 864) visas are not currently capped.
See: Parent Visa Queue