Partner Migration – Changes to Sponsorship | AMVL Migrations
Following on from their changes to Partner visa sponsorship requirements in November 2016*, the Department of Immigration has announced plans to significantly change the Partner Migration process.
When the changes come into place, applicants for Partner visas will first need to go through a rigorous sponsorship approval process – likened to the process for 457 Standard Business Sponsors – before a Partner visa application can be lodged. This will also allow the Department to introduce enforceable sponsorship undertakings, and the ability to refuse or bar sponsorships based on a criminal history or failure to comply with undertakings.
This is in line with the Department of Immigration’s focus on the safety and security of Partner visa applicants, including their dependent children.
Although there is currently no draft legislation, we are advised by senior Department officers that in addition to providing detailed information on their immigration history and character records, the new process will make it mandatory for sponsors to provide police clearance certificates at the time the sponsorship application is lodged.
The Department would also require that the sponsorship be approved before a Partner visa application could be lodged.
This will have a major impact on an applicant’s ability to lodge a Partner visa application, particularly for onshore Subclass 820/801 cases where there is a visa expiring and timing is critical.
The Department advises that they intend to process sponsorship applications ‘within 3 weeks’ unless there are sponsorship or character issues of concern. However, we would take this announcement with a grain of salt; as we have seen with Standard Business Sponsorships, processing can take considerably more time than the Department’s best intentions.
If you are eligible for a Partner (Subclass 820/801 or 309/100) or Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300) visa to Australia and you are considering applying, we would highly recommend ensuring you lodge before the end of the year in order to avoid these changes.
AMVL is happy to provide an assessment on your eligibility for Partner Migration, as well as advice and assistance with lodgement. If you are a sponsor with a relevant offence and/or significant criminal record, we recommend speaking with a Migration Agent before submitting a Partner application.
*On 18 November 2016 changes were introduced to require sponsors to obtain police clearance certificates if requested, and to give consent to the Department allowing them to disclose any convictions for ‘relevant offences’ to the visa applicant. They are also able to refuse a visa application if the sponsor has a relevant offence and a significant criminal record. Further information is available at https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Brin/sponsor-requirements.