Prospective Partner and Partner Visa Changes: Key Amendments for 2024

Published on June 26, 2024

Prospective Partner and Partner Visa Changes: Key Amendments for 2024

Changes to Partner Visa Applicants

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence Provisions for Partner Visa Applicants) Regulations 2024 introduces significant changes to the Australian partner and prospective partner visa framework. These changes, which take effect from 1 July 2024, aim to provide more flexible and compassionate responses to applicants facing complex situations such as the death of a sponsor, family violence, or relationship breakdowns.

The amendments are organized into three substantive parts: changes relating to existing or intended partners, changes relating to prospective partners, and updates to language relating to family violence.

Importantly, these amendments introduce positive changes for applicants, particularly those in vulnerable situations. By allowing applicants to use experiences of family violence to their benefit, the regulations provide crucial support to those escaping abusive relationships.

Prospective Partner and Partner Visa Changes: Key Amendments for 2024

Part 1: Amendments Relating to Existing or Intended Partners

Prospective Marriage (Sc 309) Visa Changes:

  • Sponsorship Requirements: The requirement for a Prospective Marriage (Sc 309) visa applicant to continue being sponsored at the time of decision is removed in specific circumstances. These include cases where the relationship has ended due to the death of the sponsor, the presence of a child from the relationship, or instances of family violence.
  • Location Flexibility for Provisions: Applicants under Sc 309 and Sc 100 no longer need to be in Australia at the time of the decision to access provisions related to the death of a sponsor or a child of the relationship. These provisions are now accessible even if the applicant has not entered Australia since lodging the visa application.
  • Family Violence Provisions: The requirement for applicants under Sc 309 and Sc 100 to be in Australia at the time of the decision to access family violence provisions is replaced with a requirement to have entered Australia at least once since lodging the visa application.

Part 2: Amendments Relating to Prospective Partners

Prospective Marriage (Sc 300) Visa Changes:

  • Pathway to Partner Visa (Sc 820/801): Sc 300 visa holders and certain former Sc 300 visa holders can apply for and be granted a Partner (Sc 820/801) visa under relationship cessation provisions, even if they did not marry their sponsoring partner. However, former Sc 300 visa holders will not have access to the death of sponsor provision.
  • Family Violence Provisions: Family violence provisions are now extended to Sc 300 visa holders and certain former Sc 300 visa holders who did not marry their sponsor. The updated wording includes a prospective spouse in the definition.
  • Child of Relationship Provisions: Sc 300 holders and certain former holders can now apply for and be granted a Partner (Sc 820/801) visa under the child of relationship provision.
  • Onshore Visa Grants: Prospective Marriage (Sc 300) visa applicants can now be granted this visa inside Australia. The Sc 300 visa can be granted either onshore or offshore, but must still be applied for offshore.
  • Review Rights: Ensures that review rights for Sc 300 applicants are maintained and are applicable to refusals made before, on, or after 1 July 2024.
  • Close Ties Requirement: Removes the requirement for all Partner (Sc 820/801) applicants to demonstrate ‘close business, cultural, or personal ties’ to Australia where their sponsor has died.

Part 3: Amendments to Update Language Relating to Family Violence

Language Update:

  • Terminology Change: References throughout the Migration Regulations are updated from persons having “suffered” family violence to “experienced” family violence. This change aims to use more appropriate and sensitive language.

Positive Impact for Applicants

These amendments are largely beneficial for applicants, especially those in vulnerable situations. By recognizing the realities of domestic violence and providing avenues for applicants to escape abusive relationships, the new regulations offer crucial protections and support. The changes make it easier for applicants to remain in Australia and continue their lives even after traumatic experiences.

Implementation and Applicability

These amendments will commence on 1 July 2024. They apply to any visa application lodged but not finally determined before 1 July and to all visa applications lodged on or after this date. The changes are designed to provide greater flexibility and support to visa applicants in difficult circumstances, ensuring a fairer and more compassionate immigration process.

Conclusion

The 2024 amendments to the Migration Amendment (Family Violence Provisions for Partner Visa Applicants) Regulations represent a significant shift in the approach to managing partner and prospective partner visas in Australia. By addressing critical issues such as family violence, the death of a sponsor, and relationship breakdowns, these changes aim to provide a more supportive and flexible visa process. For detailed advice and assistance on how these changes might affect your visa application, contact Kris Ahn Lawyers. Our team of experts is ready to guide you through these new regulations.

For more information about partner visas, please visit: Partner visa (apply in Australia); Partner visa (apply overseas)


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