The Australian government announced today some important changes to partner visas:
- English language tests will become mandatory for visa applicants and sponsors who hold permanent residency
- Extended character assessments on applicants
- Introduction of a two step partner visa application process. In future the sponsor will have to obtain approval as a ‘family sponsor’ before a visa application can be lodged. This new application regime has been legislated previously, however, never been formally introduced. The latest announcement suggests that the change will now get implemented in the near future.
No specific date has been set when these changes are supposed to come into effect.
Family visa places will see a steep increase from 47,732 to 77,300 places this year (2020-21) while families residing in regional Australia will be prioritized over those living in the major centres.