The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 has passed both houses of Parliament in November 2018 and is now awaiting royal assent.
Who will this affect
Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to apply to sponsor a family member and family members who want to apply for a sponsored family visa.
What this means for you
This bill will introduce significant changes to the existing Sponsored Family Visas, making it harder for people with a history of domestic violence to sponsor a partner as sponsor partners will be scrutinised before they can be approved as an eligible sponsor.
A key element of this bill requires the sponsor partner to first lodge their sponsorship application and have it approved before a visa application can be made. In addition, the Department of Home Affairs can share personal information with sponsor, visa applications and other prescribed government agencies. This means that the sponsor partners are required to agree to the results of their character checks being shared with the person they are sponsoring, ensuring that visa applicants are aware if their sponsor has a history of domestic violence.*
When will it take affect
There is no commencement date and can commence any date. However, we anticipate that the changes will come into effect in April 2019.
Effect on processing time
The current processing time for a Sponsored Partner Visa can take as long as 25 months to process. We anticipate that the changes will further prolong the process of obtaining a partner visa.
If you are thinking about applying for a partner visa and are concerned that the changes may affect you, we urge that you contact our experienced team of immigration lawyers and registered agents to discuss your eligibility.
We recommend that you lodge the partner visa as soon as you are eligible before April 2019.
Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers for advice and assistance.
Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111
*(Regulations may prescribe circumstances for disclosure etc.)