Major new partner and family visa legislation has passed and is now waiting royal assent to become law.
The final version of the bill is not yet available, however the bill originally included provisions to increase obligations on partner family sponsors, including the sharing of information between the visa applicant and sponsor, such as criminal history.
A visa application lodged under partner migration requires sponsorship by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen partner. Currently the sponsorship application is lodged immediately following lodgement of the visa application.
It is expected the new legislation will require the sponsorship to be approved prior to a partner visa being lodged. Any delay in a sponsorship application being approved could significantly impact the options for the lodgement of an onshore partner visa application within the validity of an existing visa.
If sponsorship approval becomes a requirement prior to lodging a visa application, applicants may not have any other option other than to lodge an offshore partner visa, depending on their visa validity and processing times of the sponsorship approval process. This would mean that the applicant would not be granted a bridging visa to remain in Australia and may result in couples being apart for the processing of a partner visa. Current processing times for offshore partner visas are quoted as 12-17 months.
What should you do?
If you are considering lodging a partner application, and have not yet lodged, we would recommend you contact SCA Connect today. Our Registered Migration Agents can review your options and assist you in proceeding with partner migration.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute immigration advice. For more detailed and case specific information or advice, please contact SCA Connect.