The Australian Government has released the long anticipated 2020-2021 national budget tonight, 6 October 2020. Immigration forms an essential part of the budget, particularly this year, when population management is a hot topic on the national agenda.
The budget acts as a master plan for the Department of Home Affairs to follow in the year to come. Key legislative changes are outlined and their purposes explained.
One of the focus areas where major changes are expected is Partner visas. These changes come on the background of public pressure to speed up the excruciatingly slow processing of Partner visa applications. Let's go through them (starting with the good news):
More visa grants
The Government intends to grant 72,300 Partner visa grants by the end of the financial year. This is a massive jump of 81% from last year. This will hopefully help to shorten the long processing times associated with Partner visas.
The Government says that these changes will help maximise the economic benefits of the Migration Program, and enhance the responsiveness of the program to evolving health and economic challenges.
The Government will introduce English language requirements for Partner visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors. This change is likely to be hotly debated and tested against Australia's international human rights obligations.
Currently, there is no requirement to undergo English exams for either the applicant or their sponsor. According to the Budget paper, the changes will help support English language acquisition and enhance social cohesion and economic participation outcomes.
Sponsorship before visa
Australian sponsors will be required to lodge sponsorship applications and have them approved before the foreign Partner can lodge their visa application. The current arrangement is that applicants lodge Partner visa applications first, followed by the sponsorship application.
These changes have already passed the Parliament however have not been implemented as of yet. The long drawn-out Partner visa application process, is likely to become even longer due to this changes.
Individuals who are intending to lodge Partner visa applications would be wise to consider doing so as soon as practicably possible, before the changes come into effect. Not sure how to proceed? Seek guidance from a registered Migration Agent.
ImmiUpdates will publish more insights from the national budget in the coming days. Subscribe below to receive them directly in your inbox.
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