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Australia:Partner Visa Changes

The upcoming changes to Australia’s Partner visa program set to come into effect in or around November 2021

With the second half of 2021 fast approaching, we provide a recap of the upcoming changes to Australia’s Partner visa program set to come into effect in or around November 2021.

What are the proposed changes?

Currently, sponsorship and Partner visa applications are lodged at the same time. As part of the Partner visa reforms, the Department of Home Affairs will be introducing a new sponsorship framework, requiring sponsors to be approved before their partners can apply for the Partner visa. The framework will also impose obligations on sponsors and provide civil penalties and administrative sanctions for breach of obligations. Should processing timeframes for the sponsorship component be quite lengthy, this change will adversely impact onshore Partner visa applicants wanting to lodge a visa application prior to their substantive visa expiring.

While the Partner visa program does not currently have any English language requirements, the upcoming Partner visa reforms will require visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors to provide evidence of a functional level of English or to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English at the time of the permanent Partner visa stage. Reasonable efforts are intended to include completion of 500 hours of free English language classes through the Adult Migration English Program (AMEP). The requirements will apply to passport holders from countries other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

These new measures will complement existing family violence provisions within the Partner visa program and provide further opportunities for migrants to maximise opportunities in Australia, including job opportunities and social cohesion.

How VISA LOUNGE can help If you intend to lodge a Partner visa in Australia prior to your substantive visa expiring in the next three to four months or anticipate that you or your permanent resident sponsor may have difficulties in meeting the functional English language requirement, please contact us to discuss the possibility of applying for the Partner visa prior to the reforms coming into effect.

Need to know more?

For further information and advice on upcoming changes to Australia’s Partner visa program set to come into effect in or around November 2021, please contact VISA LOUNGE at info@visalounge.com.au