New Partner Visa Rules – What You Need To Know | Australian Migration

australian partner visaIf you want a partner visa, but you missed the opportunity to apply before 1 July, then you need to deal with the new changes.

Earlier articles about the changes can be found here:


The main considerations are:

  1. The partner visa process will have an extra stage added (as if it wasn’t hard enough already!), where the Australian partner has to apply for “permission” to sponsor a foreign partner into Australia, and then wait for it to be approved before your partner’s visa application can be lodged.
  2. No one knows how long this process will take or how strictly they will process the applications.
  3. Whenever a new system comes into effect (and we have seen many new visa systems since we started helping people with visas in 2002) we have enjoyed:
    1. fast processing (the new system usually has a dedicated officer who starts on the day the new rules come into effect)….given the “old” system has a back log approaching 18 months, this is a serious advantage to lodging under the new rules.
    2. Relaxed rules (generally the DIBP want to demonstrate the new system works, and they are still getting used to the new rules and working out how to apply them…this usually leads to more relaxed processing of applications, which is a welcome relief given how cynical and strict the DIBP can be on partner visas.
  4. As you need to go through the process of first getting the Australian approved as a sponsor, there can be a delay before you can lodge – this is especially important if your current visa is about to expire, as you cannot apply for a partner visa until you have been granted permission to sponsor your foreign partner…so if the decision is not made before your visa expires, you will have to leave Australia and re-enter, or apply off-shore.
  5. The Australian needs to show they are fit to sponsor – which means any record of bankruptcy, or domestic violence or criminal charges may disqualify you from getting your loved one a partner visa!
  6. If you have any record which may affect the department’s view of your character (eg a past criminal record (even if it is for drink driving), a domestic violence matter or even a past bankruptcy) then you need a lawyer to help draft the submissions to ensure you get permission to sponsor your loved foreign partner.


Zeke Bentley of The Migration Place is critical of this requirement as it seems incredibly intrusive to interfere with an Australian’s desire to marry and live with his/her chosen partner – even if the partner is a foreigner.

Nonetheless it is an issue that needs to be handled, and it needs to be handled carefully given Australia’s new tough stance on anyone who has committed a crime (no matter how historical) – an article we posted last year goes through how his has impacted permanent residents in Australia who have not converted their PR to citizenship:

Over 1000 permanent residents (PR) had their PR Visa cancelled last year – mostly because of old criminal records – so you need to deal with character issues thoroughly and with experienced legal help.

Our lawyers are all experienced in character submissions, we have successfully run matters involving character in the Federal Courts,  and we have enjoyed success in a number of extreme cases where other agents thought it would be impossible.


All partners need to get advice ASAP.

Some extra information about partner visas:

  1. Always use an experienced migration lawyer – the days of being able to apply yourself are well and truly over as evidenced by the fact that the majority of self-represented applications are refused, refusals of partner visas are generally on the rise, and over a quarter of all applications are being refused:
  2. Many of our partner visa clients come to us after they lodged it themselves, and had it refused, and on examination it is clear that very few self-lodged applications are up to the required standard. You should not make the mistake of assuming the process is simple, nor should you assume that the genuineness of your relationship will get you through.
  3. The facts:
    1. Not engaging professional assistance means that applications are often not up to the required standard and are refused.
    2. A refusal is a nightmare – you lose both the fee (which is now $7000!) and you lose the time it took to process the application (currently about 18 months on official processing times) and you’ll need to start the process all over again (under whatever new rules are in place at that time).
    3. The rules are getting increasingly strict, and the DIBP (Immigration Department) are ramping up their scrutiny of visa applications.
    4. The decision to self-lodge is often due to a desire to save money, however it costs a lot more to fix a refusal and (more importantly) any issues with the application will place unnecessary stress and burden on your relationship (and your wallet!).


Contact one of our experienced registered migration lawyers quickly to lodge your partner visa application before your visa expires.

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