The current immigration law and regulation limits the rights of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and eligible New Zealand Citizens’ rights to sponsor their fiancés, spouse and/or de-facto partners from other countries.

The questions that often gets asked are:

1.    How many times can I sponsor spouse, de facto partner or fiancé?

2.    When will I be eligible to sponsor a spouse, de facto partner or fiancé?

3.    I have already sponsored two, can I sponsor another spouse, de facto partner or fiancé?

1. Two sponsorships

If you are an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand Citizen, you can sponsor a maximum of two people in your lifetime to be your fiancé, spouse or partner. This limitation is a life-long ‘quota’ and sometimes it may be difficult to determine whether a sponsorship counts toward this life-long ‘quota’. A few examples of when a sponsorship counts include but not limited to the following:

  • The first stage partner visa is granted but the applicant does not travel to Australia.

  • The applicant (finance)’s prospective marriage visa is granted but the marriage does not occur.

  • The visa is granted on grounds of family violence and the relationship between the parties’ cease.

  • The visa is granted based on grounds of the sponsor having passed away.

2. Five years

If you have sponsored a fiancé, spouse or de-facto partner, at least five years must pass before you are eligible to sponsor another person.

If you were sponsored fiancé, spouse or de-facto partner, you will only be eligible to sponsor another person as your fiancé, spouse or de-facto partner until five years has passed thereafter. You will also be able to sponsor up to two people in your lifetime and if you have sponsored one, then at least five years need to pass before you are eligible to sponsor another.

The way the five-year period is calculated can be tricky because it is calculated from the time of when the previous application is made to date of the current sponsorship decision. The date of sponsorship decision (approval/refusal of sponsorship) is a time of decision criteria and therefore, you may not necessarily need to wait five years before you can lodge your sponsorship/partner visa.

3. Compelling circumstances

The Department of Home Affairs assess each application on a case by case basis and exceptions can be made for those who can demonstrate compelling circumstances despite the above limitations. For example, if the relationship is longstanding or that the applicant and their sponsor have a dependent child who is dependent on both of them etc.

These example are not exhaustive and no definite list can be given. However, the general aspects that may be particularly important are the nature of the hardship/detriment that would be suffered (by the sponsor) if the sponsorship were not approved and the extent and importance of the ties the sponsor has to Australia, and the consequent hardship/detriment that would be suffered if the sponsorship were not approved and the sponsor were to feel compelled to leave Australia to maintain their relationship with the applicant. 

If you think the above sponsorship limitation may be applicable to you, we strongly recommend that you seek professional legal advice from us prior to lodging the application.

Please contact Nevett Ford Lawyers Melbourne for more information and advice.

Telephone: +61 3 9614 7111

Email: melbourne@nevettford.com.au