Key terms: Migration Policy Changes – Partner Visas – Subclass 820/801 – Subclass 309/100 – Sponsor Requirements – Family migration
2018 Update & Related Articles:
Planning to lodge a partner visa application? You will soon need to apply for sponsor approval first!
Amendments introduced in the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 describes that a separate sponsorship application is necessary before one can submit a partner visa application. Originally planned for implementation on 1 July 2017, we now know that the change will only be implemented in 2018 because the Bill has not been enacted.
At the time of writing there are still no details released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in relation to the process of applying for the sponsor approval.
How will you be affected if a separate Sponsor application is required?
DIBP has not released any details therefore we do not know if a sponsor needs to be approved before the visa application can be submitted. Also there is no information clarifying if the sponsor application and partner visa application can be submitted at the same time.
If sponsor approval is required prior to submitting a partner visa application, this may lead to complications such as:
- a partner visa applicant with a pending visa expiry cannot submit the partner visa application in time to obtain a bridging visa for further stay in Australia. This usually means the application will need to apply for another visa or depart Australia
- the delay in being able to lodge a partner visa may mean an increase in fees
- more criteria and red tape to be met for an Australian citizen or permanent resident who wishes to bring a partner from overseas to Australia
- increase in processing times for a partner visa
While we wait for further details from the DIBP, there is no doubt the additional requirement will have a negative effect on future partner visa applications.
Concerns about Partner Sponsorship Criteria raised by the Migration Institute of Australia:
“The MIA is also concerned about the content of these as yet unknown sponsorship requirements that may be imposed on sponsors. Will the family sponsor be required to demonstrate they meet a specific minimum salary rate or have funds and other assets available to support their partner? At what threshold level will these be set? Such criteria have the potential to impose further hardship on applicants. Will these criteria prevent applicants achieving the basic human right to companionship and family life?”
Comments from Principal Migration Agent and Lawyer Chris Johnston
The idea of checking sponsors to make sure they are of good character and to protect a partner visa applicant from family violence is a well-intended idea.
However, the fear is that the DIBP may introduce a range of other sponsorship requirements, which may reduce the eligibility of potential sponsors. One such example would be if there was a financial capacity requirement to be demonstrated by sponsors.
The Amendment also allows for the sharing of information with other Government agencies in relation to the sponsor applicant. This could in the future mean that the Government shares information amongst agencies such as the ATO and Department of Social Security, regarding a sponsor’s work and employment/unemployment history.
If possible you are advised to submit your partner visa application as early as possible to avoid the changes.
Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016
This information is accurate on 16 June 2017
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