Currently, part of the criteria for Partner visa permanent residence requires the visa applicant to be sponsored by an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen. Together, the visa applicant and their partner submit their applications to the Department of Home Affairs.”
Up until now, lodging a valid partner visa whilst in Australia allowed the visa applicant to obtain a Bridging Visa A (BVA) taking effect when their current visa expires.
Given that there are two eligibility paths to a Partner visa, one either has to be in a Married relationship or be in a De Facto Relationship. The BVA holder would then be able to remain in Australia until a decision were to be made on the partner application. During this processing time the BVA holder was also be entitled to Medicare and full work rights.
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“The new change, however, will require the Australian partner to lodge their sponsorship application and have this approved before the partner visa application can be lodged,” Ms Dimopoulou, who works for Meticus, said.
“Given that the Australian sponsorship application is not a visa application, the process can extend to an extra 12 to 18 on top of everything. The non-Australian applicant can only apply for permanent residency after the Australian citizen’s application is approved.”
Ms Dimopoulou clarified that it is not yet clear whether the Australian party who will have to submit an application in order to be approved as a sponsor for their partner will also have to pay during the submission period.
“Amending the migration legislation, according to the government is meant to help protect permanent residency applicants from sponsor-partners who have previously commented family/domestic violence crimes or have abused underage individuals,” she explained.
“However, the previous process also included a police and criminal record check, which has left immigration lawyers and counselors baffled as the only thing that appears to change due to the amendment is extending the waiting period fore a partner visa from 20 months to 32 or even 38 months.”
Changes will not affect Partner visas submitted up until 17 April 2019 and current arrangements will continue to operate. Finally, there is no time-frame for expansion of the new sponsorship framework to other family visas and therefore the current arrangements for existing visas, including partner visas, will continue to operate from 17 April 2019.
*If you are planning to apply for a Partner visa we recommend booking an appointment to discuss and understand how these changes may impact you.