New English Rules and New Requirements for Australian Partner Visas?

Are you aware of the new immigration requirements proposed for Australian Partner visa?

From late 2021, new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors will be required to have functional level English or to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English.


What is a Partner Visa?

The Partner visa allows a partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, or Australian permanent resident, to live in Australia.

A Partner visa (subclass 801) is a temporary visa which can lead to a permanent Partner visa (subclass 820).


What are the 3 Proposed Changes to Australian Partner Visas?

In October 2020, the Australian Federal Government released its budget. In this budget document, the Australian Government proposed new requirements for partner visas in Australia.


1. English language requirement for Partner visa applicants

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.


People will be able to demonstrate this through, for example, the completion of 500 hours of free English language classes through the AMEP.


2. New Sponsors Pre-Approval for Partner Visa Applications

Currently, the sponsoring partner and partner visa applicants, lodge their application at the same time.


As part of the reforms to the Partner visa program, the Australian Government will apply the family sponsorship framework to Partner visas from November 2021.


This change will split Partner visa applications into two steps:

  1. Firstly, the sponsor will need to lodge their sponsorship.
  2. Sponsorship will need to be approved before the Partner visa application can be lodged.


The framework mandates character checks and the sharing of personal information, makes the sponsor liable for enforceable sponsorship obligations, and for Australian permanent resident sponsors (not Australian citizens) and visa applicants, a requirement to demonstrate they have made efforts to learn English.


3. Prioritisation Australian Partner visas Applications

There will be an increased number of places for Partner visas (72,300 within the family stream visas) and onshore applicants will be prioritised.


Also, where the sponsoring partner resides in a designated regional area the application will prioritised for the 2020-21 Migration Program.


2021 Australian Partner Visa application processing time

partner visa processing times
100 Partner* 12 months 19 months
300 Prospective Marriage 23 months 27 months
309 Partner (Provisional) 16 months 23 months
801 Partner* 11 months 19 months
820 Partner 20 months 27 months
*Processing time for subclass 801 Partner (permanent) visa and 100 Partner (permanent) visa is from date of eligibility (2 years after the 820/801 or 309/100 application is lodged) to finalisation.
** Source: DoHa


Circumstances that affect processing times

Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances including:

  • whether applicants have lodged a complete application, including all necessary supporting documents
  • how promptly any requests for additional information are responded to
  • how long it takes to perform required checks on the supporting information provided


Partner visas in particular require a considerable volume of supporting documents to substantive the relationship with your partner.


As the visa application charges are significantly higher for family visas, they are not applications you will want to lodge twice so use the time wisely to double-check that you have provided everything needed to secure a favourable outcome.


We have assisted many clients in obtaining family visa approvals at No Borders Law Group. These visas include parent visas, child visas and partner visas. No Borders Law Group successfully secures partner visa grants within a considerably shortened timeframe as we lodge decision-ready applications.


For more information on the family visas, contact No Borders Law Group for a free initial assessment with one of our migration lawyers.


What do these changes mean for applicants?

Department of Home Affairs proposes that new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors require to have a functional level English. Or, these applicants must demonstrate that they made reasonable efforts to learn English.


Most partner visas are a provisional visa of two years before becoming eligible for a permanent visa. The requirement will have to be met at the time of the granting of the permanent visa.


The change to the visa requirement comes after a rise in the number of people not being able to speak English well or at all in the past decade, Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said in a statement.

“From late 2021, new partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors will be required to have functional level English or to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English, and these new measures will provide further opportunity for migrants and new citizens to maximise their opportunities in Australia.” Tudge said.


Further details about these measures will be announced in the coming months.


As part of this week’s Budget, the Government has announced new requirements for partner visa applicants and permanent resident sponsors to make reasonable efforts to learn English.  Partner visas constitute 90 percent of the family stream of the permanent migration intake.

The skill stream already has English requirements.


Need help with getting Australian Visas?


Email:[email protected]

Tel: +61 (07) 3876 4000


We will help you by exploring visa options and securing application. As part of our services, we will assess the eligibility of the application for a partner visa and help you to get out of the abusive relationship 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.