Second stage of partner visa applications – permanent residency.

Recently I’ve noticed an increase in clients coming to see me who have had their permanent partner visa application refused.

When you apply for a partner visa you are actually applying for two separate partner visas:

  • the temporary partner visa (subclass 820 or 309)


  • the permanent partner visa (subclass 801 or 100).

Two years from the date you apply for the partner visas you are considered for grant of the permanent partner visa.

At that time you are asked to provide more evidence that your relationship is still genuine and continuing. It’s like completing a ‘mini’ partner visa application again.

Currently (at January 2017) it’s taking the immigration department a year or more to process the permanent visa stage of a partner visa application.  That’s incredibly slow!

So, it is often now around three years from the time you applied for the partner visa(s) until the grant of the permanent partner visa.

However, the immigration department has obviously gotten tougher in their decision making around permanent partner visas.

So, my recommendation to you is – don’t underestimate the second stage partner visa process. 

You were granted the temporary partner visa. Great!

However, that doesn’t mean that you will almost automatically be granted the permanent partner visa.  You need to prove to immigration all over again that you are still in a genuine and continuing partner relationship. Evidence, evidence, evidence, is needed.

There is also a fatal trap that most people don’t know about.

If you applied from offshore (outside Australia) for the partner visas (a subclass 309/100 application) you must be offshore at the time of the decision on the temporary partner visa application.

However, you can either be onshore (in Australia) or offshore at the time the decision is made on your permanent partner visa application.

But, if you permanent partner visa application is refused you can only appeal that refusal decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal  if you were onshore at the time the refusal decision on your permanent partner visa application was made.

If you were offshore at the time of the refusal decision for your subclass 100 permanent partner visa application then you have no right to appeal that decision.  Is this fair?  No.  Can anything be done about it? Usually, no.

So, the moral of this story is that if you have any doubt at all that your subclass 100 permanent partner visa application may be refused, then make sure that you are onshore when the decision is made. At least then you can have the refusal decision reviewed by the Tribunal.

Feel free to contact me if you have been refused and need advice.  Take care out there!

Cheers. Ross McDougall.  Immigration lawyer.

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