Getting into a country on a partner visa might seem like the 1990’s film “Green Card,” where Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell try to dupe the USA immigration officials with their fake relationship.
However, the reality is far more stringent and Australia is no exception. If you are in a relationship with an Australian or a New Zealander, you can qualify for temporary or permanent residence in a number of ways.
Migration agent Sam Hopwood, from Sable International explains that the Australian Partner visa category is divided into various subclasses, and classification is dependent on whether the visa is temporary or permanent as well as where the application is made.
“The Department of Immigration and Border Protection assesses applications under a ‘combined application’, which means that your application will be assessed against the criteria for both temporary and permanent partner visas. You will be issued with the appropriate visa, depending on which criteria you meet.”
Temporary partner visa
The temporary partner visa is valid for two years, during which your relationship will be assessed to ensure that you intend to say with your partner. If your relationship passes the test, you will be granted a permanent partner visa.
Permanent partner visa
The permanent partner visa is valid for five years. This is a permanent residence visa. After holding this for four years, you are able to apply for citizenship.
All Australian partner visa applications are assessed on the following criteria:
- The financial aspects of the relationship, which includes how financial responsibilities are shared or pooled
- The nature of the household, which includes how household tasks are divided and shared
- Social aspects of the relationship, which includes how you are perceived as a couple in public
- Nature of the persons’ commitment to each other, which includes the willingness to move to another country
Bringing your partner to Australia
Hopwood outlines four routes to bringing a partner to Australia:
- Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) and Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100) - Must be applied for outside of Australia
- Partner visa (subclasses 820 and 801) - Can be applied for within Australia
- Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) - For those couple engaged to be married
- New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visa (subclass 461) - For those with New Zealander partners
Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) and Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100)
Any person submitting an application for a partner visa in subclass 309/100 must be outside at the time of the application and the decision. Usually, you will be free to travel to Australia on another visa while the application is under process. However, you will not be eligible for a bridging visa to allow you to live and work in Australia while your current application is being processed.
Partner visa (subclasses 820 and 801)
These partner visas are to be used when applying in Australia. To do so in Australia, you must hold a valid visa that does not contain the "no further stay" condition known as 8503. This condition would prevent you from making further applications in the country. Applying while in Australia entitles the applicant to a bridging visa, which allows him/her to live and work in Australia while the partner visa is processed. Applications for the partner visa can take a year or more to process.
Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)
The purpose of this visa is to allow the unmarried partners of Australian citizens to travel to Australia to get married. You must be outside of Australia when you apply for the visa and when it is granted. The prospective marriage visa is granted for nine months and has unrestricted work rights. The visa holder is required to marry their partner and apply for the Australian partner visa (subclass 820) before the visa expires. This visa is often referred to as the fiancé visa and is used by unmarried individuals who cannot show that they have cohabited for 12 months.
New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visa (subclass 461)
This visa allows a non-New Zealand family member of a New Zealand citizen, who is living in Australia, to live and work in Australia for up to five years. This that will not lead to permanent residence, but can be renewed onshore as required. This visa allows the holder to work and study in Australia and to live in and travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted.
Australian visa options include:
- Sponsored visa: Your employer can sponsor you to live and work in Australia
- Skilled visa: If your occupation is listed on the Skilled Occupation List, you might qualify to live and work in Australia
- Parent visas: Bring your parents to live with you in Australia
- Partner visas: If you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or an eligible New Zealand citizen, you might qualify
- Working holiday visa: If you’re looking for an adventure, this visa will let you live and work in Australia for 12 months