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A partial announcement


This is something I’ve never had to do before. I’ve always avoided it, because it can cause a lot of confusion from unanswered questions. I’m in a position where I really do need to make an announcement, but lacking probably 80% of the facts. This has been well and truly sprung on us, and we’re not impressed at all. However we suspect it won’t be so bad in the long run. This is about changes to visa sponsorship administration.  


Australian partner visa changes to visa sponsorship 17 april 2019


Please note that the following changes to visa sponsorship have been talked about since I think 2015. There were various dates put forward, but these dates came and went. And I would need to quash rumours when clients got concerned by saying (as I always do) that I will believe it when it comes into law. Until then it’s only speculation. Even legislation passing through parliament can still be overturned. It happened with the Citizenship changes last year, if you’ll remember.

Well, in this case this has got the Royal Ascent from the Governor General, however the only certainty is the date. 17 April 2019. We don’t have much more than that.

And note well! This ONLY affects partner visa applications (onshore partner, offshore partner and prospective marriage visa) lodged AFTER this date. Existing applications that are already lodged and in the system will not be affected.  


Changes in Australian Partner Visas – Sponsorship


The process of applying for partner visas has always included an application for visa sponsorship. The visa application must be approved, but this depends on the sponsor being approved too.

Basic nuts-and-bolts of visa sponsorship – from before and now:

  • Must be married to the applicant or in a de facto relationship with the applicant
  • Or must be legally free to marry, and engaged to the visa applicant
  • Must be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ Citizen
  • Must be over 18
  • And (since Nov 2017) must be low-risk of potential family violence

And the process has been that the application form and sponsorship form are lodged pretty much at the same time. The old paper forms? Both on the same day. Via the IMMI Account? Visa application first, followed by the visa sponsorship form. Both would be processed at the same time, and both needed to be approved.  


What will change?

The visa sponsorship application will go in first. From what I can gather, there will not be much more to it than that. No more indepth analysis of the suitability of the sponsor. Just doing it first….then after approving the sponsor, saying “You may now lodge the partner visa application”.  


How will this change partner visa applications?



Obviously it will add some extra time to the application process. How much? Don’t know.  



Will this cost any extra? At this stage we have no idea if the Government will choose to add a charge for approving sponsorships. We have no idea.

For existing signed-up clients, Down Under Visa will not be charging any extra. In the future, it will depend on how much extra work is involved.  


Bridging Visas

And most importantly, this will make it less smooth for those applying for onshore partner visas. Why? Because sponsorship applications will never be eligible for bridging visas.

The only option for onshore applicants will be to try to remain longer in Australia on tourist visas. If you need to apply again for this reason, be assured that Down Under Visa will not profiteer from the situation and will only expect to cover costs for further onshore tourist visa applications.

In the long term? It may be better to look at offshore partner visa applications. Much will depend on what is involved with these new sponsorship applications, but right now we don’t know very much at all.  


What to do now?


I would suggest and advise “business as usual”. There are no new areas being assessed as far as we can tell. So if you were assessed by us as being OK for a partner visa before, then nothing has changed. The main difference appears to be a change in administration and probably some further delay. Given that they are not assessing anything new or additional to what they were checking before, any additional delay in theory shouldn’t be very much at all.

And should you go ahead with preparing a partner visa in its entirety while the sponsorship is being assessed separately? Yes, I think so! As part of your online visa assessment that you all did, we ask if the sponsor has any criminal records. If you said NO, or if you said YES and discussed it with me and I said it looks OK, then you have very little to be concerned about. Delaying would only waste time.  


Watch this space

We will keep you informed with the practicalities of how this will work as we are informed. If you have questions? Suggest you use the comments section below, unless your questions are complicated and/or personal.      


Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa


Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it!


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  1. Tan Dat Luu

    Had the new change for partner visa come in affect yet. That sponsor have to lodge their form 40 sp first or at the moment we still can lodge size by size. Thanks

    • Jeff Harvie

      Nothing has changed at this point (4/07/2019) with partner visas

      • Nusrat Faria Khan

        this is Nusrat, i lives in Bangladesh ,, my husband lives in Australia , i want to know a question, my husband is now staying Australia,he is now carrying subclass 866,he is arrived to Australia on 2010 at cristmas island by boat,last year i went to Australia by visiting visa by my relatives and that time we will got married, now can he(my husband) sponsor for a partner visa for me?please let me know,I’ll wait for your reply ,My question is—-My husband arrival record is cristmas island, is there any problem or obligations of my husband to give sponsorship for partner visa?he is now staying Australia by permanent protection visa subclass 866,my husband is now a applicant of citizenhe has a resident return visa subclass 155 for five years validity . I find that page from a website, there is explained that, which people are arrived australia by boat they have to wait a long long time for partner visa process & some time It will not work,is it true? . I have checked with RACS (Refugee Advice Centre) and they say there are significant delays for Partner visa applications where the sponsor is the holder of a Subclass 866 visa and has arrived by boat. This delay is eliminated though where the 866 visa holder becomes an Australian Citizen. See below my main question is only for that reason can i never go to Australia for join with my husband or any day can it possible ? I have a child together,thank you so much.

        i will start to process my partner husband is a 866 permanent protection visa holder, but he arrive by boat on 2010, his arrival record is illegal, but he is a citizen applicant,he has resident return visa subclass 155 with 5 years validity , i heard that there is significant delay for those applications which are sponsored by illegal arrival people if though have a permanent residency like 866 visa?there no matter about that delay but at end of the time will they approve my visa or never approve?my relationship is genuine, i have Australian marriage certificate, we have child together, i was conceive my baby in Australia, then i come back my home during my visa validity and gave birth my child and i have lot of genuine document of our relationship. I want to know can i join with my husband or can i never go to Australia for only that his arrival record ?can i start to process my offshore partner visa 309 and child visa 101? If can i start then please give me your office address i will send my husband to your office.Please answer me.Thank you so much to read my message

        • Jeff Harvie

          Nusrat, we do partner visas from Philippines. What you’re asking is outside of our area of expertise, sorry.


    Hlo am Sahir gill my husband is in Australia after 3 and half year and he apply my dependent visa from last 10 month but still we don not have any updation regarding my visa

    • Jeff Harvie

      Then be patient. They will contact you when they’re ready.

  3. Utsab khatri

    My wife is in Australia
    It’s 8 months completed and I am still waiting
    How long should I wait more sir ?

  4. am

    hey there! now that this is applicable, is there any update on how long it takes for a sponsorship to be approved?

    • Jeff Harvie

      They never went ahead with this, Am. So at this stage it’s not an issue.

  5. Edgar

    Hi Jeff,

    I’ve just sent you a response to your comment above but not sure if this has been received.


    • Jeff Harvie

      This is a comments section for BLOG articles. It’s not really a good way to communicate with me.

  6. Edgar

    Hi Jeff,

    It appears my response was not sent.

    My comment was in relation to whether there is a statutory length of time given as notice period should these proposed changes Re Visa Sponsorship Application be implemented.

    My second question is in reference to Sponsorship Application ineligible to Bridging Visas. In theory this should be possible provided that the onshore Partner Visa application is received during the Validity of Stay.

    For example, an applicant on a Tourist Visa without 8503 No Further Stay stipulated as a condition, can make an onshore Partner Visa Application. Proposed changes mean the Sponsorship application needs to be applied at first instance and once approved, the Partner Visa Application can be sent prior to expiration of Tourist Visa. Once received, a Bridging Visa issued which is valid whilst the Partner Visa Application is considered.


    • Jeff Harvie

      The proposed changes haven’t happened, Edgar. It’s anybody’s guess when and if it will happen.

      And yes to the second question, but again irrelevant because the changes never happened.

  7. Rose GH

    hello, My name is rose living in Australia with my husband on Subclass 309 and 100. My husband has a permanent residency. its been three year that i am in Australia. My visa status is indefinite. What I have to do now for permanent residency

    • Jeff Harvie

      Did you finalise your Subclass 100 visa? You should have done that by now.

      • Rose GH

        I am going to applied for permanent residency (subclass 100). I am unemployed in Australia at-least from 3 years. My husband financially supported me with 100 dollar a weak. Is this have any negative impact on my visa subclass 100.

        • Jeff Harvie

          I can’t advise you on your case, and I don’t have enough background and because you’re not our client

    • Monette Reformado

      My name is Monette and I am a Filipina and have been in Australia since July 16, 2019 thru my partner invitation. I have given a 1 yr multiple entry tourist visa. We have met thru internet last Oct 2018 and he visited me last April 2019 in the Phils. I am now in Australia and would like to ask when can we apply for a de facto relationship. Should i finish my 1 year tourist visa to apply?
      Thank you so much for the help.

      • Jeff Harvie

        You most likely don’t have a 1 year tourist visa, and you should not treat it like that. I haven’t seen the grant, but usually they are for multiple visits of 3 months maximum. Don’t try to treat it as a one year stay, ie you can’t leave Australia and come back quickly.

        I can’t advise you any further, because I don’t know anything about your case. I suggest you complete one of our online visa assessment forms on the website.

  8. Ailia

    How about this one question… Can the australian husband charge back the Filipina wife and her children for the visa fees after the relationship has gone sour and there was domestic violence against the wife? The wife and husband have joint accounts but the wife has no access even if all that’s in the account was her money from her own salary. The husband after a fight threatened to bring to court and have the wife pay all the visa fees he spent for them, wife and 2 children. Is there such a thing like this???

    • Jeff Harvie

      No he cannot. The wife should contact a lawyer about this.

  9. Joan

    Mr. Jeff,

    Me and my Australian fiancee are planning to get married on January. He wants to sponsor me to travel in australia righ after the wedding for a honeymoon. What visa will you reccomend him/us to apply? I want to reccomend your agency to him. More thanks

    • Jeff Harvie

      I really need to assess you first before I could advise you, Joan. There’s a free form on our website. There’s a link at the bottom of this article.

  10. felix

    Hi jeff,

    I’m a PR and my long time girlfriend is going to apply for a partner visa (subclass 820 – de facto). Now I believe i need to be an approved sponsor first, however I can’t seem to find on their website how long it takes to process it. My partner’s visa will expire next year March 2020 and wondering if we’ll make it if I apply as a sponsor next month Oct 2019.

    Also in their website I’m confused when a sponsor is applying:
    Apply after the applicant has submitted their visa application and given you their:
    Transaction Reference Number (TRN) or
    application ID

    Does this mean she apply first and then I apply using her TRN/Application ID?

    Thank you very much!

    • Jeff Harvie

      You don’t need to be an approved sponsor. They’ve been talking about this for years but never implemented it. And sorry, can’t advise you how to lodge your own application.


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