A drop in partner visas granted and an increase in visa refusals in 2017/18.


A 15% drop in Partner Visas granted in the last year

‘The Australian’ newspaper reported on July 13th, 2018, that Australia’s annual permanent migration intake (for the year ending June 30th, 2018) has fallen by more than 10 per cent to less than 163,000 people. This is the lowest level for more than a decade.

The report states that the largest fall was in the family stream — predominantly spousal (partner) visas — which was slashed by almost 15 per cent to 47,732.

That’s a significant reduction in the number of parter visas granted.

Why the reduction in the number of partner visas granted?

It’s certainly not due to a drop in the number of applications.

The cut to the number of visa grants in 2017-18 has been attributed to new integrity measures applied to the system following the discovery of a high number of fraudulent claims being made
every year.

The Australian newspaper reports that it has confirmed that the integrity measures resulted in a 46 per cent increase in visas being refused and a further 17 per cent rise in applications being withdrawn due to the greater scrutiny. The number of applications processed remained at similar levels.

A 46% increase in visas being refused – that’s a very large increase!

This increase in visa refusals explains the recent huge increase in the backlog of cases at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) – the AAT is where you can have a visa refusal decision reviewed.

I’ll be writing another blog post on the AAT backlog soon.

What to make of this?

Our experience is that well-prepared partner visa applications for genuine couples that are thoroughly supported by strong evidence are still being approved.  Processing times have increased though.

So, this is not the time to lodge a poorly prepared or weakly evidenced partner visa application as, now more than ever, it will quite probably be refused unfortunately.


Feel free to contact me for a consultation if you need further information about this. Cheers.

Ross McDougall

Immigration Lawyer


Tel: 08 8528 9187

This information is current at July 18th, 2018 – note that immigration law changes regularly.

Information (or the lack of it) contained in this blog post does not take into account anyone’s individual circumstances and should not be relied upon as immigration assistance or legal advice.


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