PARTNER VISAS

Another pathway to working and living in Australia is through a partner visa. STEP MIGRATION provides an efficient and time saving professional service that maximises the chance of obtaining a partner visa.

If you are married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, plan to marry one, or you are in adefacto relationship with one, you can apply for a partner visa.

Dealing with the red tape of any government bureaucracy is always complex but immigration can take this to a whole other level.  With years of experience as an Immigration Agent Lewis Stephens takes you through the important things to know about Partner Visas. 

TAKE THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS APPLYING FOR A PARTNER VISA

“With Partner Visas, the stakes are high for couples in emotional, financial and future life journey terms. One small unintentional slip-up can have major impact on your life.”

– Lewis Stephens (MARN 1466104 )

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

The applicant must be sponsored by their Australian independent or de-factor partner aged over 18 years, and the sponsorship must be for a minimum period of 2 years.

General requirements for Australian partner visas are:

  • The sponsor of the applicant must be an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen, or eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Both the applicant and the sponsor must be aged over 18 years.
  • The applicant must be married to or in a relationship with the sponsoring partner for at least 12 months.
  • There must be satisfactory proof that the relationship or the marriage is genuine, eg: that you live together, that the relationship is strong and there is mutual commitment. This happens usually by providing documentation including photos, joint bank statements etc.

WHY CHOOSE STEP MIGRATION

EXPERIENCE COUNTS

Step Migration is the trading name of Stephens Migration Service (ABN 73 654 544 505).

Our Principal Lewis R. Stephens (M.A.R.N 1466104) has an extensive professional background in industrial relations, dispute resolution and tribunal membership.

This mix of skills and experience enables him to understand the real world of people and business.

Together with his qualifications and expertise in migration law, he can identify your migration needs and provide the solutions you require.

ETHICAL AND PROFESSIONAL

Lewis is registered with the Office of the Migration Agent’s Registration Authority and is bound by the Authority’s Code of Conduct. Step Migration guarantees an ethical service. Lewis is a member of the Migration Institute of Australia and the Migration Alliance

FAIR AND REASONABLE FEES

After you make contact with Step Migration, if we can assist you an initial consultation is arranged.

If you are a member of professionals Australia you are entitled to a free initial consultation and a 30% discount an our scheduled fees.

Lewis can meet you at his professional suite, or your office, home or via the internet.

GET IN TOUCH !

OFFSHORE VISAS

PARTNER VISA – (309/100)

This Partner Visa is for foreign nationals who are not in Australia and have a partner or spouse who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or who is an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Applicants must either be married to their sponsor or else have been in a de facto relationship with them for at least 12 months prior to the point of lodgement.

Once the Temporary (309) visa is granted, after two years the applicant will be eligible for the grant of the Permanent (100) visa, which is essentially the second stage of the application process. However, if the applicant has been married to or in a de facto relationship with their sponsoring partner for at least three years when lodging their initial application, or two years if the couple have children together, it is possible to be granted the permanent (100) visa immediately.

PROSPECTIVE MARRIAGE VISA (300)

On this visa an applicant is able to enter Australia and marry their fiancé within nine months of the visa being granted. Once they have married their fiancé, they then apply for an Onshore Partner Visa (subclass 820) on the basis of their marriage before the subclass 300 visa expires.

The applicant must be engaged to an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen, be free to marry, provide evidence that they have met in person and genuinely intend to marry

ONSHORE VISAS

PARTNER VISA (820/801)

This visa is for foreign nationals who are in Australia on an eligible visa and have a partner or spouse who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or who is an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Applicants will either be married to their sponsor or else have been in a de facto relationship with them for at least 12 months prior to the point of lodgement

At the point of lodgement, the applicant will usually be granted a bridging visa which will allow them to continue to stay in Australia on the conditions of their original visa.

Once the Temporary (820) visa is granted, after two years the applicant will be eligible for the grant of the Permanent (801) visa, which is essentially the second stage of the application process. However, if the applicant has been married to or in a de facto relationship with their sponsoring partner for at least three years when lodging their initial application, or two years if the couple have children together, it is possible to be granted the permanent (801) visa immediately

Every year, tens of thousands of Australians jointly lodge visa applications with their  foreign partners

Here are ten things you need to know to give your application, and your relationship, the best chance of success:

It’s expensive

At almost $8,000, Australian partner visas are  among the most expensive in the world. If there is a child under 18 included in the application this will cost an additional $2000.

Additional costs will include health examinations, and expenses such as obtaining police checks, birth certificates and translation of documents into English.

It can take a long time

The Department of Home Affairs doesn’t cap partnership visas – but they do have a ‘planning level’, which essentially limits the number of applications which are processed each year. The ‘planning level’ is currently 47,825 visas per year, but roughly 75,000 applications currently sit with the department.

That’s why wait times are about 24 months for onshore applications, with offshore or prospective marriage visas taking about 18 months to process.

You don’t have to be together for 12 months if you’re married

There are two paths to recognition through the partnership visa program – the de facto path and the married path.

While de facto visas require a 12-month relationship, the married path has no time requirement.

Both paths still require evidence of a genuine, ongoing relationship.

However, the 12-month de facto wait period does not apply if a couple is registered with a federally recognised state or territory relationships register. Relationships registries operate in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Evidence is crucial

Just because you think your relationship is genuine, don’t assume the department will think that. The Department have openly stated that they are targeting partner visas due to the high number of false applications, so they are carefully scrutinised.

Partners need to demonstrate their relationship with a range of evidence in different areas. That includes financial evidence, co-habitation evidence and social evidence as well as written accounts from the sponsor, visa applicants, friends and relatives. And this information will be cross referenced by the Department with public records and social media posts for consistency and accuracy. Family and friends may be contacted by the Department to verify the relationship.

Long distance relationships can be hard to prove

Long distance relationships, in which partners aren’t cohabiting, can be a challenge to provide evidence for.

If you don’t have evidence of co-habitation, then it’s important to strengthen social and financial evidence. Tickets and bookings to show visits to each other and strong, detailed statements from family and friends, as well as an explanation of why you aren’t living together, will be important to verify a genuine relationship.

Honesty is important

False claims can get you barred from future applications for years and will undermine character assessments. Honesty and complete information is particularly important when it comes to completing character assessment forms that are part of the application process.

Health restrictions can be harsh

The partnership visa application process requires health checks both on the applicant and on any children they have – even if they don’t live with them or intend to bring them to Australia.

Children have to pass a medical as part of their biological parent’s partner visa – even if they’re not going to be coming to Australia.

All medical issues for the applicant or dependents should be declared, otherwise an application could be deemed misleading. Minor ailments such as asthma are unlikely to be an issue but assessors will be looking to screen out applicants with conditions which would require regular care, checkups and hospital visits. Such conditions may include physical or psychological disabilities, as well as cancer and HIV, as well as other blood illnesses.

In some instances there is the option to apply for a waiver – but you need to provide compelling reasons that your condition will not excessively cost the Australian community or disadvantage access to healthcare for Australians.

Character issues should be dealt with upfront

As part of all visa applications, it’s expected that the applicant is of good character and good standing – which means criminal records or suspicious activity can earn you a denial.

In a recent change, Australian sponsors must now also submit criminal record checks as part of the application. If the sponsor has a significant criminal record, the Department will alert the foreign partner – and if the sponsor refuses to grant consent, the visa can be refused.

You need to get your timing right for onshore applications

It is vital that you abide by visa deadlines, or you risk major issues in future applications.

If you’re on a substantive visa, don’t wait a minute past when your visa here expires. Breaking the conditions of that initial visa can lead to a bar on future visa applications, which can only be overturned if there are strong compassionate grounds.

After lodging an onshore application, you will likely be eligible for an interim bridging visa while your partner visa is processed.

Most people use Registered Migration Agents

It can be a stressful time. The complexity of the paperwork and the lengthy processing times – not to mention the costs – can put a lot of pressure on relationships. It’s a big investment and it’s important that it’s done right the first time as minor mistakes can become very costly later on. Which is why 75% of partner visa applications are lodged by Migration agents on behalf of their clients.

GET IN TOUCH !

It’s a big investment and it’s important that it’s done right the first time as minor mistakes can become very costly later on.