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Changes to the Partner Visa

May 13, 2019 no comment kartik

New legislation was passed in the Parliament in December 2018 impacting the Australian Partner
Visa applications lodged. The major impact is around the changes in the timing and process of
lodging new visa applications. A more recent confirmation is that these changes will take place
before 10 June 2019, though the exact date of implementation is still undecided. This means that
the changes may take place at any time.
The new legislation means that the sponsoring Australian partner will need to be an approved
sponsor before the partner visa application can be lodged by the non-Australian partner. The
processing times for sponsorship could be lengthy. Based on current processing times, this could
mean that there may be a wait of several months before a partner visa application may be lodged.
Partner Visa Application – Current Process
Applicants need an Australian sponsor – Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible
New Zealand citizen – to be eligible top lodge partner visa applications. Presently, both the
sponsorship and partner visa applications can be lodged simultaneously without the need for waiting
of sponsorship approval.
If the applicant is onshore while lodging the partner visa, the applicant is granted a Bridging Visa A
(BVA) which activates upon the cessation of their current visa. BVA enables the applicant to remain
onshore until a decision on their partner visa application is made.
The applicant has full work rights during this period and is also entitled to Medicare.
Impact of recent changes?
As a result of the changes, the sponsor would be required to be an approved sponsor prior to
lodging a partner visa application for their spouse. This may result in a waiting period of several
months.
Sponsorship application is not a visa application; hence the partner visa applicants will not be
granted a BVA. If their current visa is expiring soon, they will need to make another valid visa
application to stay further in Australia, otherwise, they will need to depart Australia and stay offshore
until a final decision is made on their partner visa application.
This means that prospective visa applicants may not have similar unlimited work rights or Medicare
or BVA.

The changes will be implemented before 10 June 2019, but there is no confirmed date.
For applicants planning to lodge partner visas, it is strongly recommended to lodge the visa
application as soon as possible to avoid any distress.


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