How partner visa applications are processed is about to change.


Requirement for partner visa sponsors to be pre-approved is coming soon.

Some new partner visa legislation has recently passed through the Australian parliament and is now awaiting the Governor General’s assent to become law.

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 passed in the Senate on 28 November, 2018 (after being stalled in parliament for more than 2 years).

A significant effect of the new law will be to require pre-approval of Australian sponsors for partner visa applications and, probably, for prospective marriage visa applications, before the partner or prospective marriage visa application can be lodged.

What this means in practical terms is that partner visa applications (and probably prospective marriage visa applications) will not be able to be lodged until after the Australian partner’s visa sponsorship application has been lodged, processed and approved.

Currently, the Australian partner’s visa sponsorship application is lodged and processed after the partner or prospective marriage visa application has been lodged.

The new law will reverse that order of processing.

The final version of the Bill (new law) is not yet available. Once it is available, it will be possible to more accurately predict the effect of the new legislation.

However, the specific effect of the bill on visa applicants will not be fully known until the applicable changes to Migration regulations and policy are made. It is not currently known how far advanced the process of updating the regulations and policy is.

Who will be affected?

Of concern is the anticipated effect on those intending to lodge partner visa applications whilst onshore in Australia, especially those on visas with a relatively short validity period such as visitor visas; as processing of the Australian partner’s sponsorship application may take longer than the time that an intending partner visa applicant has left on their current visa.

The potential effect on partner visa or prospective marriage visa applicants who will lodge their visa application offshore (from outside Australia) is much less significant – as they are not in Australia in a ‘time-critical’ situation with an existing temporary Australian visa expiring.

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

Ross McDougall
Immigration Lawyer

Tel: 08 8528 9187

This information is correct at December 6th, 2018.  But, keep in mind that immigration law changes from time to time.

Information (or the lack of it) contained here 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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