In today’s blog update, we will be discussing Australia announcing significant changes to its Partner Visa program, effective from 24 November 2023. Please keep in mind that these modifications have modernized the process and extended certain safeties to visa applicants.
Here are the key updates for Australia’s Partner Visa Program:
Removal of Onshore and Offshore Distinctions:
Please keep in mind that the distinction between ‘onshore’ (subclass 820/801) and ‘offshore’ (subclass 309/100) Partner visa applicants has been eliminated. In the past, onshore applicants had to be in Australia both when applying and when the decision was made, even though offshore applicants had to be outside Australia when the visa was permitted. Presently, Partner visa applicants can be granted a visa irrespective of their location at the time of the decision. This modification applies to all visas granted on or after 24 November 2023, comprising those lodged prior to the amendments.
COVID-19 Concession Made Permanent:
Originally, a concession was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic, permitting offshore Partner (subclass 309) visa applicants to be in Australia at the time of the decision. This allowance was set to end on 25 November 2023, but the new adjustment has made this concession permanent, permitting these applicants to remain onshore for their visa to be granted.
Special Relationship Cessation Provisions Extended:
To safeguard the Partner visa applicants in problematic conditions, the Department of Home Affairs extended special relationship cessation provisions in August 2022. These provisions permit applicants to stay eligible for visa grants even if their sponsor dies, the relationship ends because of family violence, or the relationship ends and the applicant has custody rights to a child of the relationship. This extension is noteworthy as it helps protect applicants from being compelled to stay in dangerous relationships for visa purposes.
These modifications reflect Australia’s effort to familiarize its immigration policies to the realities of the global pandemic and to deliver greater fortifications and flexibility to Partner visa applicants. It demonstrates a commitment to supporting international relationships while balancing immigration control.
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