November Partner Visa Changes – Are They Happening?

10 Oct



Partner Visa changes mooted for November 2021 have been on the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) agenda for ages.


What are the changes?


1. There will be Separate applications for Partner Sponsors and Partner Visa applicants

The DHA proposes to make Partner Sponsorship applications separate from the actual Partner Visa application (this includes Subclass 820 Onshore Partner Visas, Subclass 309 Offshore Partner Visas, and Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visas).

Currently, even though a Partner Sponsor must lodge their sponsorship form (Form 40SP online), the Partner Sponsor’s application can be lodged concurrently – i.e. at the same time as the Partner Visa application, and the two applications are assessed together.


2. There will be increased English Requirements too.

Also, the DHA will require visa applicants to have a higher level of English by having them promise to attend English lessons.


What’s the problem?

The problem is – if the DHA initiates these changes, the Partner Sponsorship application will need to be approved before your  Partner visa application can be considered.


The chatter that we are hearing is that from November, it is likely that a Partner Visa application cannot  be lodged until the Partner Sponsorship application is approved.


This would create a real issue for Partner Visa applicants because you would be unable to lodge your Partner Visa application until your Sponsor’s application is granted – which can leave you in all sorts of trouble if you’re intending to lodge a Partner Visa application before your current visa expires – and your Sponsor’s application is not approved in time!

We remain hopeful that the DHA will realise the implications of their proposed changes, particularly for onshore Partner Visa applicants – and either abandon the proposed changes or allow Partner Sponsor and Partner Visa applications to be lodged at the same time – as we are able to do with employer-sponsored visa applications.

If the DHA made this concession, it would effectively keep the status quo with respect to Partner Visa applications. You would be able to lodge your Partner Visa application together with  your Sponsor’s application, thus avoiding problems with visa expiry dates.

With respect to the English requirement changes – it appears as if the only requirement will be a promise from the visa applicant to attend English classes, which is not too onerous!


If the changes happen, will the Partner Sponsorship application incur a separate fee?

Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer to this question either. Given the DHA’s penchant for charging a great deal of money for Partner Visa applications, we cannot rule out an extra fee if a separate Partner Sponsorship application is required.


When are the changes proposed?

The DHA has said previously that the changes will be implemented in November 2021.


Do we have a specific date for these changes?

The DHA/Minister for Immigration,  are avoiding commentary on the Partner Visa sponsorship changes – even to the Migration Institute of Australia, the Registered Migration Agents’ peak body.


The changes have not been confirmed, nor do we have a date if the changes do occur

This means we do not know:

  • If the changes will occur, or
  • When the changes will occur.

There is speculation that they may not occur, but we cannot confirm this one way or another.


Despite the uncertainty, we recommend that you lodge your Partner Visa application before the end of October if you are able to.



I would like to say a massive thank you to Patrick who got our Partner Visa approved in just over 3 months!

Prior to meeting Patrick we had been through many agents who were incapable of taking on our complex case.

Patrick worked upon our visa urgently and provided clear concise direction in an immensely stressful time.

It is not often that you find someone who is looking out for your best interests, I am forever grateful. Patrick is very knowledgeable, professional and asset to AHWC

Rachel Gavin | September 2021, Five Star Google Review

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