A record of 72,000 Partner Visas were granted in the Migration Program Year 2020-2021. This is the highest number of grant in the last 25 years with 160,000 applications realized. The introduction of the two laws will limit the lodgment of Partner Visa Applications in the future.
- First, the Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident Sponsor must be an Approved Sponsor. It is a separate sponsorship application that will likely cost around $420 that can take around 4 – 12 weeks. Only after Sponsorship Approval can visa application be lodged. Sponsor pre-approval requirements are likely to be limited to criteria relating to character. Currently, you can apply the sponsorship and visa applications at the same time.
This is part of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018 (the Act). The government’s justification for these changes is that the DHA will be able to inform a partner visa applicant of adverse information about their Australian sponsor, such as a criminal history or history of domestic violence and give the applicant a chance to withdraw from the process before a visa is lodged or granted.
The practical impact of these changes is that partner visa applicants will likely experience even longer processing times as they will need to wait for their Australian partner to be approved before they can lodge their application. In many cases, potential visa applicants may need to leave Australia while they wait for their sponsor’s approval to be granted.
2. English Language Requirement for Visa Applicant. A new English test requirement is introduced demonstrating Functional English. The applicant must have an IELTS overall score of 4.5 (30-34 in PTE). Evidence of functional English is only required at the time the Permanent Resident Visa is assessed in the second stage. Provisional partner visa holders will have access to government-funded Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) classes to learn English.
If test scores have not been achieved, applicant must provide documentation showing they have made reasonable effort to obtain functional English by evidence of at least 500 hours of English Classes. It can be assumed that a partner visa holder will remain a provisional visa holder until they meet the English language requirement.