The Abbott government will increase the visa applications charges for partner visas by 50 per cent, raising $373.6 million for the budget repair job.
The cost of a foreign affair is set to increase by several thousand dollars.
Australians who fall in love with or marry a foreigner will have to pay 50 per cent more for partner visa application fees.
The move was announced in the mid-year budget review on Monday and will raise $373.6 million in revenue over four years.
The price rise will come into force from January 1, 2015.
PARTNER VISA CHARGES
* Provisional and permanent partner visas – currently $3085 increased to $4627.50
* Prospective marriage visa – currently $3085 increased to $4627.50
* Temporary and permanent partner visas – currently $4575 increased $6865.50
Courtesy of Immigration Department & AAP
This appears to be a cynical move to tap what the government sees as a bottom-less pit of funds. Probably seen as an electorally safe measure because it relates to migrants rather than further impacting Australian tax payers and voters, this will in fact inflict significant further costs on Australian citizens and permanent residents, as they as sponsors rather than the migrants themselves will end up paying these exhorbitantly increased fees.
Since September 2013 all applicants now pay visa application fees, so all associated fees will also go up by the same percentage, particularly for minor applicants; up to $1720.00 for on-shore minors or $1155.00 minors in off-shore applications.
This will have the inevitable result of forcing more applicants to attempt the application process themselves, increasing processing times and wasting valuable departmental resources through the lodgment of often incomplete and incorrect visa applications.
Having said this, such a significant increase in fees will make it even more important to enlist the services of a MARA accredited migration agent to assist with the preparation of your partner visa applications, because there is very much more to lose financially in the event that an application is invalid or refused.