Applying for a Partner Visa is still possible during the pandemic – here’s a summary of recent concessions affecting Partner and Family Visa applicants – plus what you should know about applying for a Partner Visa in the COVID-19 Era.
There are two main types of Partner Visas in Australia – 309/100 Partner Visas (must apply offshore) and 820/801 Partner Visas (must apply onshore) – and international travel restrictions have impacted Onshore and Offshore Visa applicants in different ways.
Offshore 309/100 Partner Visa Applicants
Usually, to apply for a Partner Visa offshore you must be outside Australia at the time the Partner Visa is both lodged and granted (ie, the Offshore Visa Grant Requirement).
As you can see, Offshore Partner Visa applicants are usually separated from their loved one for a long period before the Temporary Partner Visa is granted.
In the past, many Offshore Partner Visa applicants would have:
- Applied for other Temporary Visas to see their loved one in Australia while waiting for their Temporary Partner Visa to be granted.
- Planned to travel out of Australia to meet the ‘Offshore Visa Grant requirement‘ – this requires applicants to be overseas at the time of their visa grant.
However, due to the pandemic, many Offshore Partner Visa applicants may currently be in Australia and may not be able to travel out of the country.
Thankfully, from 27 February 2021 a temporary concession commenced, which may allow the below Partner and Child Visa applicants in Australia to have their visa granted without having to leave the country (conditions apply).
- 309 Partner Visa and 300 Prospective Marriage Partner Visa
- 101 Child Visa, 102 Adoption Visa and 445 Dependent Child Visa applicants
The temporary concession will mean they may be able to have their visa granted without leaving Australia. Once approved, they will also no longer have to apply for new Temporary Visas to extend their stay, which can be stressful and expensive.
A temporary concession also commenced from 24 March 2021 for the below Parent Visa applicants in Australia:
In addition, a further temporary concession applies to Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa applicants whose visa is granted from 27 February 2021. These visa holders may be eligible for a visa grant period of up to 15 months (increased from 9 months) at the discretion of the Department.
Onshore 820/801 Partner Visa Applicants
Fortunately, people who apply for a Partner Visa Onshore are usually unaffected by the travel restrictions because their visa requirements do not require travel out of Australia.
They can remain in Australia from the time of applying for the Partner Visa to the time it is granted.
Here’s an example of the Onshore Partner Visa journey.
Partner Visas in the COVID-19 Era
Here’s what you should know about applying for a Partner Visa during the pandemic:
- The Government is focused on processing Partner Visas – particularly for applicants already in Australia who apply onshore.
- The Government processing time is currently 23 to 28 months for an Onshore 820 Partner Visa. The applicant can stay in Australia while it is being decided.
- The below graph shows the impact of the pandemic on Onshore 820 Partner Visa grants from 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
For partners overseas – it is also still possible to apply for a Partner Visa.
- The Government processing time is currently 18 to 22 months for 309 Offshore Partner Visas. Once granted, Subclass 309 Partner Visa holders can come to Australia without requesting for a Travel Exemption.
- The below graph shows the impact of the pandemic on Offshore 309 Partner Visa grants from 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
Also, more placements are available for Partner Visas this year – placements increased to 72,300 people, which is the bulk of the 77,300 placements in the Family Stream.
- Our migration agents have noticed an increase in Department ‘Requests for Further Information’ for Partner Visa applications. This indicates the Government is committed to filling the placements.
- The Government have also informed the Migration Institute of Australia that more resources are being dedicated to processing Partner Visas while other visa options may not be possible for travel at this time.
A Temporary Concession has also been implemented to allow sponsors of Offshore 309 Partner Visa applicants to appeal a visa refusal decision – conditions apply.
Interstaff | Migration to Australia in the COVID-19 Era
We hope this was helpful. You can read more about Partner Visas here and catch up on our Australian immigration insights below:
New Rules for Travel to Australia
Critical Work and Compassionate Travel Exemptions | Migration in the COVID-19 Era
Sponsoring Highly Skilled Migrants | The Global Talent Program
COVID-19 Vaccination and International Travel
Australia Travel Declarations | What to Do Before Travelling