Sponsoring a partner who intends to migrate to Australia involves certain processes you need to be well informed about.
One of the most popular ways to obtain Australian residency is by family sponsorship. And if you are an Australian citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you have the advantage of being able to sponsor your family in order to bring them to Australia.
Australian immigration law permits family sponsorship so that families can stay together in the country. As a citizen, you can sponsor family members like your spouse and child to Australia.
Both a partner visa and sponsorship application need to be lodged at the same time.
The process involved in getting an approved partner visa can be quite tasking. It demands your time and effort. So you may have to contact the services of a partner visa agent in Sydney to help guide you through it.
Getting a Partner Visa in Australia
If you are married to or in a committed de-facto relationship with someone who is either an Australian citizen, or a permanent resident in Australia, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, a partner visa can give you a pass to join your spouse in Australia.
Now you’re probably wondering what ‘de-facto’ means. In a de-facto relationship, you are not legally married to your partner. But, you two have a strong, genuine and continuing relationship that has existed for at least 12 months before applying for the visa. You share a life and live together. Your partner may be someone of the opposite sex or same sex as you.
The kind of relationship you have with your partner is an important factor that determines what type of partner visa is best for them. Usually, a married spouse and a de-facto relationship fall under the same visa subclass.
Let’s look at the various kinds of partner visas we have:
Partner (Provisional) Visa subclass 309:
If you are not within Australia at the time of your seeking a partner visa, then Partner (Provisional) Visa subclass 309 is what you should apply for. It’s important to note that you must be outside Australia when this visa is granted.
Partner (Migrant) Visa subclass 100:
This is also an available option for those who are not within Australia. You can apply for this visa at least 2 years after the grant of subclass 309.
Prospective Marriage Visa subclass 300:
A Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) is for partners that are not yet married but are planning towards it. It is known as a ‘fiance visa’. It grants the partner who is outside Australia an opportunity to join the Australian partner for a period of nine months. This is so that they can get married within that time. It is often given to couples who are neither married nor in a de-facto relationship.
After the visa holder marries their Australian partner, the next step is to go on to apply for subclass 820 and 801 to obtain a more permanent place in Australia.
Partner Visa (Temporary) subclass 820:
If you are already within Australia at the time of applying for a partner visa, you can apply for the Partner Visa (Temporary) subclass 820. It allows the visa holder to live in Australia temporarily. Getting this visa is the first step towards a permanent Partner Visa (subclass 801). It is advisable to apply for temporary and permanent visas together at the same time.
Partner Visa (Permanent) subclass 801:
This visa grants the spouse or partner of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen permanent residence in Australia. A temporary partner visa (subclass 820) qualifies a visa holder to have a Partner Visa (Permanent) subclass 801.
A Permanent Partner visa is valid for five years. A visa holder with a Partner Visa subclass 801 can decide to apply to become an Australian citizen.
After your application for a Partner Visa subclass 820 has been granted, you have the opportunity to live, work and study in Australia for 2 years or more. After then, you may decide to apply for permanent residency in Australia through subclass 801.
However, it is not in all cases that you must wait for 2 years before you can apply for subclass 801. You can apply before then if:
- You have been in a relationship with your spouse for 5 years or more before applying for a partner visa
- Where you have dependent children in your marriage and have been in a relationship with your partner for over 2 years
- You were in a relationship with your spouse before they were granted a protection visa, and the Australian immigration officials were informed of the relationship at the time.
You can contact a Partner Visa migration agent for expert opinion on what visa may suit you best. IMMIGATE is here to provide you with further guidance.
Am I Eligible for a Partner Visa?
To be eligible for an Australian partner visa, you must, among other things:
- Be a spouse to someone who is either an Australian citizen, or a permanent resident in Australia, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
- Show that your relationship with your partner is a genuine and lasting one.
- Show that you and your spouse are committed to a shared life together that excludes any other person.
- Prove that you and your partner are above 18 years of age.
- Prove that you and your spouse live together
- You must pass the health and character criteria.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection may look into areas relating to the private lives of the spouses to ensure that their marriage is valid and they really have the relationship they claim to have. In doing so, they may:
- Ask the couples to provide evidence of their financial life.
- Ask for photographs featuring the couples together on holidays.
- Demand for evidence that shows that the couples are committed to a shared life together.
- The spouses may even be asked questions about each other to determine how much of a couple they are.
- Demand some documents of family members/ relatives of the applicants to verify their identity.
In cases where the Department suspects that the spouses are giving misleading answers to such questions, it may deny the visa. You may contact a Partner Visa migration agent for more information on documents needed in applying for a partner visa.
What Does Sponsoring a Partner Involve?
If you are planning to sponsor your partner into Australia, you must ensure that:
- You are eligible to sponsor your partner
- You complete and sign Form 40 SP and send the form to your spouse
- Your spouse signs Form 47SP to apply for migration to Australia
- Your spouse lodges the forms, sponsorship form and other necessary documents together at the nearest office of the department in Australia.
It is expected that as a sponsor, you are to cater for the accommodation and financial assistance of your spouse for at least two years. Partner Visa agents in Sydney can tell you all you need to know about sponsoring a partner in Australia.
Limitations on Sponsorship
As a sponsor, it’s important that you know the limitations that can hinder you from sponsoring your partner’s visa.
- A person can only sponsor a maximum of 2 people in a lifetime.
- If you have sponsored a partner previously, you must wait for at least five years before you can sponsor another partner.
- If you were granted a partner visa, you must wait for five years to elapse to be eligible to sponsor another partner.
However, these limitations can be waived in compelling circumstances such as:
- In the event of the death of the previous partner
- Where your present partner has children with you.
- Where the relationship with your present partner is genuine and long-standing.
- Where your previous partner has abandoned you with children.