As Part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget the Australian Government announced that it will be implementing reforms regarding the process of partner visa applications . It is understood that these changes will be implemented in November 2021.
Importantly there will be an overhaul of the application process with the new sponsorship framework requiring Australian sponsors to become ‘approved sponsors’ before an applicant can proceed to lodge a partner visa.
At present, a partner visa application Form 47 can be lodged at any time, with the sponsor Form 40 being lodged immediately after, without requiring prior approval of the sponsor prior to the lodgement of the partner visa application.
As part of the Partner visa reforms, the Department of Home Affairs will introduce a new two phase process whereby sponsorship framework requiring sponsors to be approved before their partners can apply for a Partner visa.
This change will negatively impact onshore Partner visa applicants wanting to lodge a visa application prior to their current substantive visa expiring, as there is no guarantee how long the sponsorship approval process may take, possibly months, during which time the applicant will have been left without a visa and forced to depart Australia or become illegal if remaining onshore. Should the applicant seek to remain onshore, t is recommended that they should in the interim apply for another visa whilst awaiting the outcome of the sponsorship approval.
IT IS CRUCIAL TO BE AWARE THAT THE APPLICANT PARTNER FOR THE PARTNER VISA DOES NOT RETAIN LEGAL STATUS MERELY BECAUSE THEY ARE AWAITING SPONSORSHIP APPROVAL FOR THEIR SPONSOR/PARTNER, AND WILL ENTER A PERIOD OF UNLAWFUL STATUS IF THEY REMAIN WITHOUT A VISA WHILST AWAITING THE SPONSORHIP APPROVAL. THIS WILL PROHIBIT OR LIMIT VISA APPLICATIONS IN THE FUTURE AND EFFECT THEIR STATUS AND POSSIBILITY OF REENTRY TO AUSTRALIA IN THE FUTURE.
For information on the Australian Partner visa reform, assistance applying for a Partner visa or for further assistance with any other migration matters, please contact our office.