If you are considering applying for a partner visa, your partner must sponsor you. To be approved as a sponsor, your partner must satisfy a number of partner visa sponsor requirements, which are discussed below. Failure to do so can have serious implications for your application, as your visa cannot be approved unless your sponsor is also approved. It is therefore vital that you address the sponsor requirements for partner visa Australia as part of your application.
There are a number of partner visa sponsorship limitations which apply. These partner visa sponsorship limitations may be waived if compelling circumstances exist affecting the sponsor.
Partner visa sponsorship obligations will also apply to your sponsor.
Take note that sponsorship requirements and related procedures have been subject to greater attention in recent years, with the Australian Government enacting additional criteria applicable to sponsors. Further changes which are pending, could have significant implications for the visa applicant.
Before me move on with our discussion, it is important to point out that partner visa sponsor requirements and partner visa sponsorship limitations apply to the following visa subclasses:
- Subclass 820/801 Partner visa (onshore);
- Subclass 309/100 Partner visa (offshore); and
- Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa.
Age Requirement For The Sponsor
Also be aware that your partner must be 18 years of age to be eligible for approval as a sponsor for your Partner Visa. If your partner is under 18 and you are married, you may be sponsored by a parent or guardian of your spouse who has turned 18 years of age, and is an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. Be mindful that given a marriage is legally valid in Australia only if both parties are of marriageable age, being 18, it would be difficult to envisage a situation where this would be accepted. Nevertheless, it is prescribed in the legislation.
If you are in a de facto relationship, your partner must be 18 years of age to sponsor you for a Partner Visa. Note to be eligible for a partner visa on the basis of a de facto relationship, both you and your Australian partner must be at least 18 years of age (i.e. note the difference with a married relationship as discussed above).
The same applies to the Prospective Marriage Visa; your partner must have turned 18 years of age to qualify as a sponsor for the application.
Requirements For Sponsorship Approval
Your partner must meet prescribed partner visa sponsor requirements to sponsor you (as noted above, your partner will in most cases also be your sponsor). To be approved for sponsorship, they must be:
- Your spouse or de-facto partner (note these each have their own specific requirements under the migration provisions, which may differ to their common usage meaning);
- an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen; and
- aged 18 years of age or older (there are exceptions to this minimum age requirement in some instances).
The following partner visa sponsorship limitations apply to your sponsor:
- a person can sponsor a maximum of two partners over their lifetime;
- if your partner has previously sponsored another partner, they must wait at least five years since the date they lodged the previous sponsorship before they can sponsor you; and
- if your partner was granted a partner visa themselves, they can sponsor you only after five years have passed since they lodged their own visa application.
Note that these limitations can be waived in certain instances arising from compelling circumstances.
If your partner has been charged with or convicted of a ‘registrable offence,’ the sponsorship will be refused unless no conviction is recorded or set aside, or the application does not include a child under 18 years of age.
Registrable offences are aimed at the protection of children, by applying added scrutiny to sponsors who have convictions for child sex offences or other serious offences.
Immigration does have the discretion to approve the sponsorship if the sponsor completed a sentence imposed as a result of the conviction for more than 5 years before you lodge your visa application, and there are compelling circumstances. Note that any offences committed within that 5 year period will also be considered.
Additional Sponsorship Requirements
As part of the partner visa sponsor requirements, your partner must also provide:
- police clearances for Australia and/or other countries when requested by Immigration; and
- consent to disclose to you, as the visa applicant, convictions for certain offences, referred to as ‘relevant offences,’ which they have committed. If your sponsor fails to provide their consent, your application will be refused.
Failing to provide police clearances within a reasonable time can also lead to a refusal.
What Is A Relevant Offence?
Offences which are committed either in Australia or overseas include:
- breaching an apprehended violence order
- human trafficking and slavery offences
- firearms and other dangerous weapons offences
- violent offences, including murder and assault
- harassment, stalking and intimidation offences
- people smuggling offences
if your partner has been convicted of a ‘relevant offence,’ and they have a ‘significant criminal record,’ your application will be refused, unless Immigration assesses that it would be reasonable not to refuse.
If your partner has been convicted of a relevant offence, but they do not have a significant criminal record, your application will not automatically be refused, however, Immigration will notify you of these convictions.
What Is A Significant Criminal Record?
If your partner has been sentenced to one of the following, they will have a significant criminal record:
- life imprisonment
- imprisonment for 12 months or greater
- where they have been sentenced to more than 1 term of imprisonment, and the total term is 12 months or greater
The aim of these reforms is to protect the visa applicant, to ensure that you are armed with all relevant information for making your decision in whether you wish to continue with your application.
The Australian Government has announced its intention to introduce a new requirement applicable to sponsors, whereby the sponsorship will need to be approved before you can lodge your visa application. Contrast this with the current system, whereby the visa and sponsorship applications are lodged at the same time.
A change of this nature may give rise to significant implications for you, as a result of the delay in awaiting the sponsorship approval. If in that intervening period, your current visa is due to expire, you will need to either apply for another visa while you wait for the sponsorship approval, or you will be required to depart Australia in order to comply with your visa conditions. If you were to overstay your visa and become unlawful, you may still be able to apply for the partner visa in Australia, but you will be subject to additional criteria for visa approval.
To avoid these changes to the sponsorship approval process, you may wish to consider lodging your application as soon as possible (subject to meeting the requirements to do so).
Get More Information About The Proposed Changes
Please see our articles on the Partner Visa Changes and Australia Partner Visa Changes for more information about these proposed changes, how they may impact the partner visa application process (including the separation of the partner visa sponsor application), other changes that have since been implemented to the partner visa program and how a registered migration agent can assist you with your partner visa application.
Given the highly complex nature of the migration laws and regulations and the changing environment, this means new rules could be enacted at any time. It is therefore now more important than ever to obtain expert advice before you apply for a partner visa. Contact us today to book your consultation.
We are here to make your immigration process as painless as possible. For advice about your eligibility for a partner visa, how the partner visa application process works, an assessment of your eligibility to apply for partner visa, and mapping out timelines and strategy, book a consultation with an experienced migration agent to give yourself the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your partner visa application.
How To Apply To Be A Partner Visa Sponsor
To lodge a sponsorship application for partner visa, your sponsor needs to complete a form 40SP, and this should be submitted at the same time as you lodge your partner visa application. It is not a legislative requirement to lodge a sponsorship application for partner visa form to make a valid visa application (unless you are subject to section 48 of the Migration Act 1958, in which case a sponsorship application must be submitted).
However, according to Immigration policy, you as the visa applicant are required to submit a sponsorship application for partner visa (form 40SP) at the same time, and with, your completed and signed form 47SP (plus accompanying documentation). This is due to the fact that the Department must be satisfied at time of application that:
- there is a genuine intent by your Australian partner to sponsor you for the visa; and
- your sponsor understands their sponsorship obligations and undertakings and satisfies all relevant criteria.
These issues are addressed in Form 40SP.
Get More Information About Partner Visa Sponsorship
We have prepared a series of articles to provide further information about the partner visa sponsor requirements including partner visa sponsorship limitations. Please see the links below for more information.
Get More Information About The Partner And Prospective Marriage Visa
We have also prepared a series of articles to provide further information about the partner and prospective marriage visa program and how it operates. Please refer to the below links for more information.
Given the significant implications that can result from the above partner visa sponsorship limitations and sponsor requirements for partner visa Australia, including character requirements, it is critical that you are fully informed of these, and that you address sponsor requirements for partner visa Australia as they apply to your situation. Failure to do so can result in a refusal of your application.
It is also important to note that the above is not an exhaustive list. Migration laws are complex and it is essential that you are fully informed before proceeding with an application. Contact us today to ensure you have the most up to date information about your partner visa application.
PAX Migration Australia Can Help With Your Partner Visa Application
Our team of highly skilled and experieced migration experts can help with your partner visa application, including clealy explaining the partner visa sponsorship requirement, limitiations and obligations that apply. They can take care of your sponsorship application for partner visa, and act on your behalf by preparing your partner visa. They have the qualifications, training, skills and experience to keep you informed of the latest developments in the migration provisions and policy, with an in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of the process, knowledge which can only come from being imbedded in the industry for many years and actively involved in the migration space.
Why Choose PAX Migration Australia?
To learn more about why you should consider speaking with PAX Migration Australia, reviews and testimonials from our clients about what they think about us, and why obtaining professional assistance and advice from a migration agent can be beneficial in achieving a positive outcome on your migration matter, please refer to the following articles:
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Due to the highly complex nature of the migration laws, and the fact that every individual case is different, we strongly recommend that you book a consultation with an experienced migration agent, so that you are fully informed about the requirements that apply to the partner visa stream to ensure that you have the best chance of having a successful outcome.
We note that the above discussion provides an overview of some of the key issues to be aware of if you are considering applying for a visa in the partner stream. Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. We have also referred to several terms which are defined in the migration provisions (and whose meanings may differ from their ordinary usage). We recommend that you seek professional advice before you proceed with applying for any visa class, as being fully informed about the process and requirements that apply will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application, and thus lessen the chance that it will be refused. A migration professional can help you to do this.
For up to date advice on the partner visa application process and eligibility requirements, including sponsor requirements for partner visa Australia and the sponsorship application for partner visa, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide.