In 2019 we are going to see significant changes to the way the Department of Home Affairs processes partner visa applications.
The changes – under the Migration Amendment (Family Violent and Other Measures) Bill – were passed in Parliament on 10 December 2018. The Australian Government has just announced that this will not commence on 17 April 2019. The date of implementation has not been announced.
Although it has not yet been confirmed by the Government, we expect that partner visa sponsorship will be impacted soon. If you are considering lodging a partner visa application soon (particularly onshore) contact us ASAP.
What is the current process?
Currently, the partner visa applicant and the partner visa sponsor both submit their applications at the same time.
At the moment, if you lodge a valid partner visa application while in Australia, the visa applicant will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA) which will allow the visa applicant to remain in Australia while their application it processed. The BVA also allows work and study rights and access to Medicare.
What are the changes?
The new process will require the sponsoring partner to lodge their sponsorship application – and have it approved – before the partner visa application can be lodged.
At this time, the Department has not advised how long a decision on the sponsorship application will take.
What does this mean for me?
If you are applying offshore (for a subclass 300 or 309), then the process will be different but the impact on you should be minimal.
If you are applying onshore for a subclass 820, then you will need to make sure that you have a valid visa that allows you to remain in Australia while the sponsorship application is processing.
Until you lodge a valid partner visa application in Australia, you will not be granted a BVA. A sponsorship application is NOT a visa application.
When will the changes happen?
The Australian Government has not announced the date of implementation.
To minimise the impact on you, we recommend lodging your partner visa application as soon as possible.
Partner visas are very complex and expensive. We recommend that you urgently see professional advice if you have been thinking about lodging a partner visa application.