The Australian Federal Budget handed down on Tuesday contained a number of measures affecting the migration program. Several changes may impact partner visas, which provide a pathway to permanent residence for the spouses and de facto partners of Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents.
- The number of visas available to partners will increase from about 39,000 for this year to some 72,000. This should mean some improvement in processing times for at least those applicants in Australia (currently around 18 -24 months).
- Applicants and sponsoring Australian permanent resident partners MAY be required to demonstrate that they both have functional English by undertaking an English test, or completion of 500 hours of an English language program, prior to the grant of permanent residence. It is expected that Australian citizen sponsors will not need to prove English.
This is in keeping with Acting Minister Tudge’s announcement last month on increasing access to the Adult Migrant Education Program.
No further details have yet been announced about when the English requirement will come into effect, or whether there will be any exceptions. These details will be announced when legislation and supporting policy is released. As it will require a change to legislation, the proposed changes may not even be passed by the Parliament.
In addition, to the possible English language requirement, the sponsoring Australian citizens or permanent residents will need to be approved as a family sponsor before their partners can lodge a visa application. This is a change that has been in the works for many years and which is intended to make it harder for partners to lodge applications in Australia.
There is no known date yet for these changes. Until that time the current rules continue i.e. currently partners can lodge the visa application without the sponsor being approved first and there is no English language requirement.
We will be closely monitoring developments on these changes and will let you know as soon as we know more.
If you have concerns please contact your Ajuria team member.
DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 8 Octoberand subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.