Reforms to the Partner Visa program: MIA reminds of changes planned for November 2021

The Migration Institute of Australia has informed registered immigration agents of upcoming changes in the migration legislation system through its 49th Notice of 2021. The main topic of this periodical edition of the MIA newsletter is represented by the upcoming reform of one of the most popular visas in Australia: the Partner Visa. 

In March 2021, the Australian Department of Home Affairs had announced its intention to introduce two radical changes to this type of visa:

  • introduction of an English test not just for the applicant, but also for sponsors if they are not Australian citizens
  • The introduction of a new mechanism to verify the person intending to sponsor the primary applicant.

The English requirement

For what concerns the requirement of an English test, this is an attempt to favor the integration of future Australian citizens or at least to avoid marginalization of certain ethnical groups. The department added that this reform would also represent a form of protection for applicants: those in Australia who are unable to speak basic English would also be at risk of exploitation or violence. The level of English required to obtain the visa is defined by the Immigration Department as ‘functional English‘, i.e. an average of 4.5 IELTS with no band below 4. Here is a complete table of all the exams and their necessary scores:

IELTS

What happens if you fail to get this score? According to the department, it will be necessary to demonstrate that a ‘reasonable effort’ has been made to learn the language. One such way would be to take a government-subsidized language course lasting 510 hours.

Sponsor’s verification

As for the introduction of a verification stage for those who wish to sponsor a non-Citizen, the parliamentary commission justifies such measure again as a way to protect applicants. In fact, this additional step would constitute a check that the person who sponsors has not committed violence or exploitation in the past. According to the legislators, in fact, it is the right of those who are sponsored to know if there is a previous history of abuse so that they would be left with the choice to withdraw the application or continue.

These changes were scheduled to be implemented in November 2021. The Migration Institute of Australia itself announced that it has contacted the Department of Home Affairs to see if that date remains realistic. However, it makes sense that those who plan to apply for a Partner Visa, begin to familiarize themselves with the proposed reforms and the possible ‘implications’ in terms of timing or procedures to undergo.

It is also not yet clear whether the introduction of a sponsor verification will preclude the possibility of submitting a valid visa application in the absence of an approved sponsor nomination. If this were to be confirmed, it would certainly become critical to consider lodging your visa application well before your current visa expiry date.

Visa News Australia

Atlas Migration is a free info-point based in Sydney but operating all across Australia. If you wish to receive an answer in relation to a question concerning your Visa, migration matter, educational pathways and general information, feel free to contact our dedicated Facebook chat (click here) and one of our consultants will be at your disposal for free. We also deal with migration matters (Migration Agent consultation, Australian visas application, Citizenship request, skills assessment) and educational pathways for international students (English courses, vocational courses, University and higher education pathways). 

We’d like to remind you that at this moment to people in certain parts of Australia it is requested to respect social distancing, which means keeping a 1,5 meters distance from other individuals. On the official website of your Australian state, you will be able to find additional information. To retrieve information valid on a national scale, you can visit the Department of Health official website. If you recognize in yourself symptoms similar to fever or flu, our advice is to stay home and get tested immediately. You can do so by contacting your General Practitioner or by calling the free toll number 1800 020 080.   

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