Changes ahead for Partner Visa applicants
New Migration Laws to change Partner Visa application process
The Migration Amendment Family Violence & Other Measures Act 2018 was given Royal Assent on 10 December 2018 and is expected to come into effect early this year, but in any event by no later than 11 June 2019.
This Act makes changes to the application process for a Partner Visa.
It will put the sponsoring partner through a more rigorous investigation, including providing police checks and other increased character requirements.
New Application Process
At present, the application for a Partner Visa is a combined application with the Sponsor, however the changes mean that the Sponsor will first have to apply to be approved, and be approved before the applicant can apply for a Partner visa.
If the Sponsor is not approved, the applicant can’t apply for a Partner visa.
Risk of having to go offshore
Other implications of this change in process meaning that the applicant will have to wait for the Sponsor to be approved, is that we don’t know how long this process may take. For an applicant to make an application for a Partner visa while in Australia (onshore) they must hold another substantive visa, such as a Visitor visa, which could expire before the Sponsor is approved. As a consequence, the applicant will have to go offshore.
To return to Australia on a Visitor visa might be difficult, as they will have been named as the prospective applicant on the Sponsor’s application. They are therefore no longer a genuine visitor and no longer eligible for the Visitor visa. This means the applicant would have to apply for the Partner Visa offshore, which has a much longer processing time.
We anticipate that this new two part application process will cost more than the current Partner visa application. It can be expected that there will be a “Sponsor Application Charge” plus the Visa Application Charge, making the application process more costly, as well on taking longer to process.
Seek our advice now
If you’re in a relationship and considering applying for a Partner Visa, we recommend you talk to us about making that application as soon as possible!
Call us on 07 5597 3366 (if calling from outside Australia call +617 5597 3366). Or, you prefer fill out the ‘Contact Us’ form at the bottom of the page and we’ll get back to you.
Please note that this article was prepared by Zoe Brereton of Bell Legal Group for general information only. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.