With the family reunion visa system struggling due to limited places, long waiting lists and excessive fees, the Australian Greens have outlined a plan to restore integrity to the beleaguered program.
The Greens plan would immediately make 10,000 more family reunion places available each year and then initiate a detailed review of the family reunion program.
"The family reunion program simply isn't working anymore and we need to get it back on track," the Greens' immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
"We can significantly reduce the extraordinary waiting lists and excessive fees by offering an immediate increase of 10,000 places per year.
"Currently families are paying more than $50,000 per person to dodge 50 year waiting lists, making family reunion exclusively available to wealthy households.
"It's absurd that average families have been effectively priced out of accessing family reunion.
"After the election, as well as increasing the number of available places, the Greens' will move for a detailed Parliamentary review of the family reunion program which will look at the economic benefits that it can bring."
Announcing the policy in Melbourne on Friday, the Greens' Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt said that families in his electorate needed to be supported.
"Too many people have been unnecessarily separated from their loved ones for too many years," Mr Bandt said.
"I have heard countless stories from people in Melbourne who are trying to bring their families back together, but are forced to wait years and front up tens of thousands of dollars.
"In some cases, people are unable to bring their elderly parents over to share their final years together because they can't afford it or the waiting list is decades long.
"We'll be better off as a community if people aren't forced to live isolated lives in housing commission flats separated from their loved ones.
"The government is keeping families apart. The Greens will make it easier for families to share their lives together."
Hanson-Young: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760
Bandt: Adam Pulford 0429 109 054