Australian Partner Visa Programs Changing 2021


Changes to Australia’s Partner Visa Program for 2021 – English Language Requirement for Partner Visa Applicants

The Australian Partner visa program does not presently require applicants or sponsors to meet any English language requirements.


The upcoming Partner visa reforms will require visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors to provide evidence of a functional level of English or to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English at the time of the permanent Partner visa stage.


Under the family sponsorship framework sponsors who are Australian permanent residents and partner visa applicants will need to provide evidence of a functional level of English, or demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English when they reach the permanent Partner visa stage.


Reasonable efforts can include completion of free English language classes through the Adult Migration English Program (AMEP). Migrants can now access as many hours as they need to reach functional English.


Who will be exempt from the English language requirements?

These requirements will apply to passport holders from countries other than:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • United States
  • United Kingdom


Changes to Australia’s Partner Visa Program for 2021 – Sponsors Pre-Approval

Currently, sponsorship and Partner visa applications are lodged at the same time. As part of the Partner visa reforms, the Department of Home Affairs will be introducing a new sponsorship framework, requiring sponsors to be approved before their partners can apply for the Partner visa. The framework will also impose obligations on sponsors and provide civil penalties and administrative sanctions for breach of obligations.


If the sponsor has any adverse information, such as a criminal history or a history of domestic violence before their visa application is lodged, visa applicants will be informed and sponsors will also be subject to enforceable sponsorship obligations and a breach of these obligations may result in civil penalties or being barred from future sponsorship opportunities. 


In a pre-approval stage, creating a two-step process is likely to increase the processing time for Partner visas. Onshore applicants (subclass 820) in particular may be adversely impacted as they will be restricted from lodging their application until their sponsor has been approved.


Australian Partner Visas|Spouse Visas

  • Partner (subclasses 820/801) Visa
  • Partner (subclasses 309/100) Visa
  • Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) Visa


If you intend to lodge a Partner visa in Australia prior to your substantive visa expiring soon or anticipate that you or your permanent resident sponsor may have difficulties in meeting the functional English language requirement, please contact No Borders Law Group to help you apply or discuss the possibility of applying for the Partner visa prior to the reforms coming into effect.


Need help with getting Australian Partner Visas?


Email: [email protected]

Tel:  +61 (07) 3876 4000



We will help you by exploring visa options and securing applications. We will assess the eligibility of the application for a partner visa, and provide you with detailed advice on your chances of success. If you would like to discuss your visa options and evaluate the pathway to permanent residency, please make an enquiry or book a consultation to get expert advice with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Migration Agents/Lawyers on 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected]

Book a free consultation today and let us help you find a way forward.