Changes to Partner Visas – Budget 2020

Key Points
  • The 2020 Budget increases the total number of family visas which can be issued in the next year.
  • Partner visa applicants and their sponsors will be required to meet a number of new requirements, including the introduction of English language testing.

This year has been a particularly complicated one for people wanting to visit or migrate to Australia, forcing many to put their plans on hold or abandon them all together.

The recent Australian Budget (2020) has offered some good news for people seeking to travel to or remain in Australia based on their relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. There has been a significant increase in the planning levels for family visas. The number of visas will increase from 47,732 to 77,300 for the program year, with the vast majority (72,300) reserved for Partner visas. This means that there are more opportunities for Partner visa grants this year.  However, as the Minister noted in his Budget statement, the majority of these will be filled by onshore applicants - that is, people who are already in Australia as the holder of another visa.

With the Government prioritising Partner visa applications for people currently in Australia there is also good news for people living in Regional Australia. Continuing the positive developments for visa applicants with family outside capital cities, applications where the sponsor resides in a designated regional area will also be prioritised.

In some not so positive news, the Budget papers also indicate that the application process and requirements for a Partner visa grant will now become more complicated for some applicants. The introduction of an English language requirement for both visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors will significantly complicate those applications. Further details will be forthcoming, and the Hicksons Migration Assistance Service (H-MAS) team will continue to monitor and report on developments. We anticipate further changes to the migration program in the 2021 Budget and urge potential visa applicants to assess their current eligibility in detail.

Australian visas and migration pathways remain complex. Refusals can be costly and sometimes have serious implications for future applications. Our highly experienced H-MAS team is ready to assist with any questions you may have.

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