With different pathways leading to Australian permanent citizenship, this post will explore why Partner visas are so popular.
In 2016-17 there were 47,825 partner visas granted, in 2017-18 the Department granted 39,799, and in 2018-19 it granted 40,856. Demand is set to increase despite the higher Visa Application Charges and the increased scrutiny and processing times.
A part of the reason that partner visas are so popular is that compared to other pathways to PR, they are a relatively quick pathway and require few qualifying criteria to be met.
There are a range of ways you can sponsor a partner. The basic requirements can be met once you turn 18 years old and are available even if you are unemployed or on a welfare benefit and even still living at home. Former migrants who hold a permanent residence visa can also sponsor a partner, even if permanent residency was granted very recently.
The key requirement is simply to demonstrate that the relationship between the sponsor and applicant is genuine. Even if the visa is refused, there is a second opportunity to prove the relationship at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
As of June 2018, there were 1.4 million persons in Australia on temporary visas (not including New Zealanders) and around 673,000 are overseas students.
Almost all are eligible for a permanent residence visa via the partner visa pathway if they commence a genuine relationship. Given that skilled visas are becoming harder to obtain, many prospective migrants likely consider that a partner visa represents the quickest pathway to permanent residence. There are no complex English language requirements nor any need to find an employer willing to sponsor them. In 2016-17 around 11,048 former overseas students received a partner visa. In 2017-18 around 9,257 did.
This means that around half of those receiving a partner visa while in Australia in 2017-18 were overseas students or former overseas students
Currently, partner visa numbers already constitute 24.5 percent of the permanent migration program. Given the relative ease of access to the program, the demand for partner visas is set to grow.
There is significant political debate over the future of the partner visa regime. Labor has argued the Department should drop the recent tougher scrutiny of partner visa applications and turn the visa into an ‘on-demand’ option. Alternatively it has been argues that given the increased scams that the Department should increase its rigor in assessing these visas.
Despite the popularity, aside from being expensive, applying for a partner visa can be stressful as there are a number of complex areas to consider. There are several factors that can cause a decision maker to refuse your visa, so even if you consider you can make the application yourself, it’s worth checking with an agent before you apply.
For personalised partner visa advice, contact Summit Migration to talk with a registered migration agent today.