Important changes to partner visas ahead

The new sponsored family visa and approval of family sponsor changes commence on 17 April 2019

We have been notified that these changes will NOT affect Partner visas on 17 April 2019 and that current arrangements will continue to operate.
At this stage, there is no time-frame for expansion of the new sponsorship framework to other family visas and therefore the current arrangements for existing visas, including partner visas, will continue to operate from 17 April 2019.
The new changes to Sponsored family visa’s, scheduled to commence on 17 April 2019 will only be implemented for the new Sponsored Parent (Temporary) 870 visa.
Once the above changes roll out to Partner visas it would mean that Sponsorships must be lodged first and approved before Partner visas can be lodged. If you are planning to apply for a Partner visa we recommend booking an appointment to discuss and understand how these changes may impact you.

The new Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill was passed through Parliament. The Governor‑General proclaimed on 8 April that Schedule 1 of the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018, would commence on 17 April 2019. Once implemented for Partner visas it will significantly impact whether an Australian Partner visa application can be lodged whist the applicant (partner or spouse) is in Australia.

Who will be affected?

Partner visa applicants with limited time remaining on their current visa will be required to either lodge another visa application that will allow them to stay in Australia legally, or go offshore and remain overseas until the partner visa is granted.


Part of the criteria for Partner permanent residence requires the visa applicant to be sponsored by an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or eligible New Zealand citizen. Currently, the visa applicant and their partner submit an application to the Department of Immigration.

When a valid partner visa application is lodged while legally living in Australia, you will be issued with a Bridging Visa A (BVA).

When your BVA associated with your lodged partner visa comes into effect you can work full time and will be entitled to Medicare.


The new Bill requires the partner to first lodge their sponsorship application and be approved before partner visa can be lodged.

It is unclear how long the decision process of the sponsorship application will take, current process times are approximately 12 to 18 months.

When does this take effect?

There is no commencement date yet but the changes could happen anytime soon.

SeekVisa Analysis

We highly recommend lodging the partner visa application as soon as you meet the criteria.

Partner visas are not as straight forward process as they appear, to maximise your chances of success contact SeekVisa for expert advice and guidance from a reputable Registered Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer.

The registered migration agents and lawyers at SeekVisa are highly expreinced and knowledgeble and would discuss your situation in detail when you book a consultation

Other changes in this bill:

  • separate sponsorship assessment from the visa application process for family sponsored visas;
  • require the approval of persons as family sponsors before any relevant visa applications are made;
  • impose statutory obligations on persons who are or were approved as family sponsors and provide for sanctions if those obligations are not satisfied;
  • facilitate the sharing of personal information between parties identified in a sponsorship application;
  • enable the refusal of a sponsorship application and the cancellation or barring of a family sponsor in certain circumstances;
  • enable the regulations to prescribe details for, and in relation to, the operation of the sponsorship framework; and make consequential amendments.