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Australian Partner Visa:November 2021 changes

Imminent changes to Australian Partner Visas coming in November 2021

As part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced that it will implement reforms to strengthen the integration outcomes of the Partner visa program by the end of 2021 with a major impact on the ability of married and defacto partners to lodge onshore visa applications. 

It is noted that the Explanatory Statement for the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment 2021 F2021L01483 makes mention of the new regulations commencing on 13 November 2021 to align with updates to Department systems.

BPAY facilities will also be suspended from 5 November until the 13 November 2021 date indicating a significant upgrade of the system at that time.

The reforms include:

  • Changing the way that sponsorship applications are lodged, as well as the way that Partner visa applications are processed.

Currently, sponsorship and partner visa applications are lodged at the same time.

However as part of the partner visa reforms, the Australian 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 new framework will also impose obligations on sponsors and provide civil penalties and administrative sanctions for breach of obligations.

  • Introducing an English language requirement for permanent resident sponsors and Partner visa applicants.

While the Partner visa program does not currently have any English language requirements, the upcoming Partner visa reforms will require applicants and their permanent resident sponsors (i.e., not Australian citizens) 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 second stage of processing of the Partner visa – i.e., before the grant of the permanent Partner visa.

Reasonable efforts are intended to include completion of 500 hours of free English language classes through the Adult Migrant 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.

To speak with an experienced, specialist immigration consultant regarding your Australian visa application or options, please contact us on +61 407 048 955 or by email at info@visalounge.com.au