There are two categories of parent visa subclasses: contributory, and non-contributory.
Non-contributory parent visas have a low processing priority with the Australian government and based on current planning levels. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website advises anyone considering applying for a non-contributory parent visa faces a wait of up to 30 years.
To be granted a visa in the Parent category, generally you must have a child who is settled in Australia and is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen. You must also pass the “Balance of Family” test, which is to demonstrate that half or more of your children reside in Australia, or more of your children reside in Australia than in any other country.
One of the children will need act as a sponsor for the visa, and it is a requirement that the child be ‘settled’. Excluding a few exceptions, children are generally required to have lived in Australia for at least 2 years to be considered settled.
Parent visas require an application to be made by both the applicant and the sponsor. In order for the application to be approved, an Australian permanent resident or citizen will need to lodge a bond with the Australian government office of Centrelink, which is known as an Assurance of Support (AOS). The amount of the bond and the earnings requirements for the Australian will depend on the visa being applied for and the family composition of both the sponsor and the applicant.