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Partner visa


Parties who are married (opposite sex only) or in a de facto relationship and the sponsoring partner is one of the following; an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an Eligible New Zealand citizen (NZ citizens resident in Australia prior to the 26 February 2001), can apply for a sponsored provisional partner visa. As a general rule, Partner visas (sometimes called spouse visas) involve two stages; the initial ‘provisional’ visa is granted and two years after lodgement, DIBP will commence processing of the permanent partner visa- subject to parties continuing to meet the genuine and continuing relationship criteria.

The 2 year provisional period may be waived in cases of a ‘long-standing relationship’ or where there are children from the relationship.

Married, De facto & Fiance partner visas

A sponsored partner visa can be applied for in Australia where the parties have  married or have established a de facto relationship , or outside Australia where the marriage is conducted overseas or the sponsor (for a de facto relationship) and the visa applicant are domiciled there and have met the 12 month relationship requirement or at least one party is resident (in Queensland) and has legally registered their relationship- if permitted. Professional and government visa application fees differ for on and off-shore applications.

Prospective Marriage (fiancé) visas are normally classed with partner visas but can only be granted off-shore. The essential difference is that this is a temporary 9 month visa allowing the overseas partner usually to travel to Australia to get married and then to allow the lodgement of an on-shore married partner application in the same way that an on-shore partner visa application would be made.

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Full Work Rights for On-Shore Partner applicants on bridging visas

On 24 November (2012), the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has made a legislative change (IMMI 12/094) to the work right conditions for applicants of Onshore Partner visas (and some other classes of visas). Upon lodgement, applicants who are eligible for a Bridging Visa A (BVA) or Bridging Visa B (BVB) will automatically receive full work rights (with nil visa conditions).

This unrestricted work right comes into effect only when the associated Bridging visa A or B comes into operation. Where a substantive visa is still in effect, the visa holder is still required to comply with the conditions of that visa.

Previously, partner applicants were granted a BVA with the same work conditions as the previous visa held. For example, if a person held a tourist or visitor visa, then that person had no work rights on the BVA. Or if a person applied for a Working Holiday Maker visa, then that person could only work for the same employer for up to 6 months.

It should be noted however that:

  • the changes affect Bridging visas A and B only. For associated Bridging visa C or E applications, applicants must continue to make a separate bridging visa application and will be assessed for permission to work under the existing arrangements, that is, demonstrate financial hardship under the compelling need to work provision
  • these changes do not apply to bridging visa applications associated with any other onshore family stream visa subclasses, other than the parent and partner subclasses listed in Legislative Instrument Immi 12/094.
  • Legislative Instrument IMMI 12/094 does not apply to refused onshore Partner and Parent visa applicants who have sought judicial review of that refusal decision and apply for a Bridging visa A or B on judicial review grounds.

Please note:

Onshore Partner applicants who applied before 24 November 2012 and currently hold a BVA or BVB with a work restriction condition can apply to the Department of Immigration for a new BVA or BVB with nil visa conditions which will give them full work rights as long as their visa application(s) hasn’t been finally determined.

For futher information on Other Partners Visa Types please click on the link.