The coalition is putting the early squeeze on foreign workers

The 457 visa for temporary workers won’t be officially abolished until March 1, but the number granted has already fallen by more than a third – heralding a squeeze on foreign workers by the coalition.

Australian National University researcher Henry Sherrell has found the number of primary 457 visas granted in the 2017 September quarter was down by 35.7 per cent on the same period of 2016.

And the dive was not because some jobs – most famously, “goat farmer” – have been ruled ineligible. In a paper published by the Parliamentary Library, the ANU Development Policy Centre research officer reports only a fifth of the decline in 457s came from the scrapped occupations.

Eight of the top 10 occupations for primary 457 visas had significant double-digit declines. Developer programmers were down by 42 per cent to 350 in the quarter, ICT business analysts plunged 49 per cent to 238, resident medical officers dropped 18 per cent to 436 and the top 457 job, cook, was off 29 per cent to 452.

Given the near-record employment growth last year, the sharp reduction in 457s appears to have nothing to do with demand for labour, but a response by employers and would-be employees to hiring and gaining permanent residency being made more difficult and expensive.

The size of the fall and the breadth of occupations to experience it during a period of very fast employment growth should raise some interesting questions about the nature of the Australian workforce and how 457s have been used.

From March 1, the 651 occupations eligible for 457 visas will be formally replaced by 435 occupations eligible for Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa, which comes in two flavours: a two-year visa that can be extended only once and offers no pathway to permanent residency; and a four-year visa that can lead to permanent residency. There are only 183 occupations eligible for the four-year visa.

The possibility of permanent residency seems to make an immediate difference to applications. Sherrell notes that while cook 457s plunged, visas granted to chefs rose slightly. Chefs are in the pot for four-year visas, cooks are left in the two-year pan.

“The increase in chefs could reflect genuine growth in employer demand for chefs,” Sherrell writes. “However, it may also reflect employers who previously nominated cooks now nominating chefs as this is a more advantageous occupation for migrants and employers given visa conditions. If the job being performed in the business has not changed, this might be called ‘occupational inflation’, as employers upgrade their occupations to take advantage of more beneficial immigration policy settings.”

Visa requirements tighten further from March. For the shorter TSS, applicants will need at least two year’s work experience – wiping out many of the foreign students and backpackers that have been transitioning. Employers will be subject to greater scrutiny, higher visa costs and a new training levy. There are stricter English language requirements and a lower maximum age for the four-year visas.

Sherrill notes a lack of other useful data on 457s, such as salary figures and the number of applications that are rejected, and warns that isolating the effects of specific policy change is difficult amidst multiple factors, but he suggests the eligibility changes could further reduce demand for TSS visas.

Before anyone gets too excited thinking fewer overseas workers will mean higher wages, Sherrell’s isn’t the only interesting paper to consider. reports an American study that has relevance here on why workers aren’t getting decent wage rises despite jobs growth and falling unemployment.

The study suggests it’s not so much a matter of an excess of workers holding down wages, but a shortage of employers.  The idea is that in various geographical areas and fields, hiring is concentrated among a relatively small number of businesses resulting in a monopsony problem – a lack of competition among employers.

“Monopsony is essentially monopoly’s quieter, less appreciated twin sibling,” Slate explains. “A monopolist can fix prices because it’s the only seller in the market. A monopsonist, on the other hand, can pay whatever it likes for labour or suppliers, because it’s the only company buying or hiring.”

Given the limited number of players in key Australian industries, it’s not impossible to think monopsony develops whereby it’s not in those players’ interests to compete too hard for workers, or to at least not compete on price.

Meanwhile, back at the 457s, Sherrell says there’s a lack of analysis of the changes but cites an August report by the Australian Population Research Institute’s Bob Birrell – a campaigner against present migration levels.

Birrell called the 457 changes “the first serious sign that either major political party is prepared to tackle the immigration issue”.

“Make no mistake about the significance of the rest,” he wrote. “When fully in place from March 2018, the flagship ENS (employer nomination scheme for permanent residency) program will fall to less than a third of its recent size of 48,250. The number of TSS visas will also fall sharply relative to the current number of 457 visas being granted.”

Birrell expects further reforms by the government to make their immigration policy change more obvious to the public.

The apparent contradiction here is that while fewer 457/TSS visas would mean a relatively small reduction in the number of people in the country, there’s been no sign of a change in the permanent visa quota of 190,000, plus humanitarian admissions. Family reunions – mainly spouses – get 60,000 places and skilled migrants and their families the rest.

Whether the 130,000 should come as “newbies” based on their qualifications or those given a trial run through temporary work is a matter of further debate.  The Productivity Commission has argued that temporary workers here should not be given an advantage in the selection process, but the Lowy Institute’s Peter Mares makes a casefor the two-step temporary-to-permanent pathway having significant benefits for productivity because it facilitates better matching of skills to positions.

“Before the introduction of 457 visas, skilled migrants would often be granted a permanent visa before arrival in Australia,” Mares wrote. “Visas would be issued under the points system, which was the government’s attempt to match the annual skilled migration intake to its expectation of the number and types of professionals the economy would need in the year ahead. Migrants would often land in Australia and then search for a job to match their qualifications.

“Frequently, however, they might end up taking a position in which their skills were not well utilised. (We are all familiar with the scenario of engineers driving cabs, for example.) This might have been because government assumptions about the labour market were incorrect, or because those assumptions had been overtaken by a change in business conditions.”

p.s. despite the crackdown on goat farmers and kennel handlers,  the list or eligible skilled occupations for foreigners remains somewhat curious. It includes “journalists and other writers”. Anecdotal evidence would point to no shortage.  At least “federal politicians” doesn’t feature.

From 1 February 2018, Immigration SA High Points category will increase to 85 points.

The High Points category has been successful in attracting high quality applicants to South Australia.

From 1 February 2018, Immigration SA’s High Points category will increase to 85 points.

Applicants who can achieve 85 points or higher (including state nomination points) can gain access to the Supplementary Skilled List (SSL) and occupations on the State Nominated Occupation List which are listed as ‘Special Conditions Apply’. Applicants must meet all other South Australian state nomination requirements to qualify.

Quotas apply to nominations in the High Points category. Once this quota is reached, applications under this category may be closed for certain occupations

Employer Sponsorship (457 Visa) Update

Employer Sponsorship – Update 15 January 2018

Since the Government’s announcement on 19 April 2017 there have been a number of changes to the employer sponsored program, with more to take effect as early as January 2018 and in early March 2018.

The relevant legislation hasn’t been released but, Immigration recently issued their January Skilled Visa E-news to help understand some of these arrangements.

New Occupations Lists from January 2018
Immigration have indicated the changes to employer sponsored occupations lists for temporary and permanent skilled visas will be introduced around 17 January 2018.
We have been advised these changes will not impact undecided applications, providing they were lodged before the change takes effect. Given the severe impact similar changes had to temporary residents last year, this is a welcomed approach.

Further information is expected to be released in the coming days.

457 Visas Replaced by TSS Visas from March 2018
The 457 Visa will be replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa in early March 2018.
TSS Validity Period
Currently, a 457 visa granted on or after 19 April 2017 is valid for:
Up to 2 years if the nominated occupation is on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), unless exempt by an international trade obligation), or
Up to 4 years if the nominated occupation is on the Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL)
This arrangement will continue when the TSS is introduced.

Police Clearances
In July, Immigration introduced the requirement for 457 applicants to provide police clearance certificates for each country they spent more than 12 months in. This will continue with the TSS Visa.
Labour Market Testing
In March 2018, Labour Marketing Testing (LMT) will be required on all TSS applications where international trade obligations don’t apply. Currently, LMT applies when nominating trade, nursing, or engineering occupations.
If LMT is introduced for all cases, this could delay the lodgement of a TSS application and impact the Sponsor’s ability to urgently fill their vacant position.

Further details on the TSS including streamlined initiatives for processing applications will be announced by Immigration in February.

Employer Sponsored Permanent Residence
In March 2018, further changes are planned for employer sponsored permanent residence as outlined in our article 14 November 2017.
In Immigration’s January Skilled Visa E-news they advised the transitional arrangements, or grandfathering provisions, for certain 457 visa holders and 457 applicants as at 18 April 2017, were subject to final approval.

More details are to be announced in February.

Many are unsure whether they should use a Migration Agent to lodge their visa application.
Since 19 April 2017, obtaining an employer sponsored visa has become more complex and slower than was previously the case. More changes are in the pipeline and much of the information circulating about Immigration’s announcements may be confusing.

Employers should also be aware of upcoming changes in January 2018 and March 2018 and where possible, applications should be lodged before these critical dates to ensure that the impact of the changes is minimised.

MY VISA ONLINE can assist with ensuring that an employer sponsored visa is lodged prior to any critical dates. We can also ensure that it is lodged as a “decision ready” application, and so can be processed as quickly as possible.

If you are an employer and would like advice on sponsoring staff, please call our consultant on 03 9670 1010.

If you are looking at your own visa options and want to know more about the changes to employer sponsorship, please book a consultation at MY VISA ONLINE. As always we are HAPPY TO HELP.

Changes to Apply from March 2018 to ENS and RSMS

The main changes Changes to Apply from March 2018 to ENS and RSMS which will apply from March 2018 are as follows:

Occupations List

Applicants must in general have an occupation on the shorter MLTSSL (Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List) to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa from March 2018. Extra occupations will be available for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), but it is not yet clear which occupations these will be. If your occupation is not on the MLTSSL, you may no longer be eligible for permanent residence through the ENS or RSMS program from March 2018

Applicants for ENS and RSMS must be under 45 at the date of application from March 2018. Currently, 457 holders applying for the Temporary Residence Transition Stream can be under 50 when applying
Minimum Salary

From March 2018, applicants must have a base salary of at least Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT – currently $53,900) to qualify. There is currently no minimum salary applicable to ENS and RSMS visas.
Work on 457 Visa – TRTS Requirement

Currently 457 holders who have worked for their employer in their position for the last 2 years may be eligible for ENS or RSMS through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS). The TRTS is a streamlined pathway which may not require the same skills assessment, age, English language ability and health requirements as the Direct Entry Stream. From March 2018, 3 years of work experience on a 457 will be required instead of the current 2 year requirement
Training Levy

A training levy will be applicable to all ENS and RSMS applications. The amount will depend on the turnover of the sponsoring business and will be $3,000 for small businesses and $5,000 for businesses with turnover of $10 million or more.
Grandfathering Provisions for 457 Holders or Applicants as of 18 April 2017

The Department of Immigration has announced that 457 holders and applicants as of 18 April 2017 will not need to meet all of the new requirements.
These “grandfathered” 457 holders have access to transitional provisions which would preserve their eligibility for ENS and RSMS through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream.

To be eligible for the transitional provisions, you must either have:

Held a 457 visa as of 18 April 2017; or
Have a pending 457 visa application as of 18 April 2017, and this application was subsequently granted
Grandfathered applicants will not need to meet all the new requirements when applying for Temporary Residence Transition Stream ENS and RSMS visas from March 2018, and in particular:
Occupation: grandfathered applicants will be able to apply even if their occupation is not on the MLTSSL
Age: they will be able to apply providing they are under 50 years
Work Experience on 457 Visa: they can qualify once they have worked in their occupation for their employer on a 457 visa for 2 years

Grandfathered applicants will still need to meet the requirements for minimum salary (TSMIT) and payment of the training levy from March 2018.
RSMS Postcodes

A new legislative instrument has been released yesterday which specifies the postcodes for RSMS, as well as the Regional Certifying Bodies. The Perth Metropolitan Area is now excluded from the RSMS program, though it is still possible to apply if your position is located in a postcode specified in the instrument.
The instrument comes into effect on 17 November 2017.

Australian Citizenship Bill Update September 2017

A Senate Committee has produced a report on the Australian Citizenship Bill which was introduced in June 2017. The Committee found issues with the proposed legislation and recommended that changes be made before it is passed.

A motion has been passed by the Senate that if the Bill has not passed by 18 October 2017, it will be struck off the list of legislation being considered and will need to be re-introduced to Parliament for it to pass.

This article gives a summary of the Senate Committee Report and details of the motion to discharge the Bill.

Motion to Discharge Citizenship Bill from Senate Notice Paper

On 13 September, the Australian Senate has passed a motion to have the Citizenship Bill discharged from the Notice Paper of legislation under consideration.
As a result, if the Bill is not passed by 18 October 2017, it will no longer be under consideration for passage by the Senate and would need to be re-introduced into Parliament.

As there are only 4 sitting days of the Senate before this date, it is looking likely that the Bill will be discharged.

Community Feedback on the Bill

The Senate Inquiry received 13,500 submissions on the Citizenship Bill. The overwhelming majority raised serious concerns, and only 0.01% of the submissions were in favour (one of which was from the Australian Government).
English Language Requirement

The Bill requires most applicants for citizenship to show “Competent English”, but did not specify the level required and this can be set by legislative instrument. This is defined elsewhere in the Migration Regulations as 6 in each band of IELTS or equivalent score in one of the other English tests, but the Bill did not link to this definition. Currently, no formal English test is required and this is assessed by the applicant completing the Citizenship test, which is estimated to require English at approximately the IELTS 4 level.
The majority report recommended that the requirements the proposed “Competent English” requirement be “clarified”. It recommended against “adopting a standard that may current citizens could not reach” – this would imply that a standard lower than Competent should be applied.

Dissenting reports expressed concern that the proposed level of English was inappropriate, and in particular:

It would lead to large segments of the Australian community unable to attain citizenship
Refugees and migrant spouses would be disproportionally affected
The proposed level of English is very high – the Australian Council of TESOL Associations estimates that approximately 7 million Australians were below IELTS 6 level in 2012-13.
Retrospective Application of Legislation

When the proposed changes to citizenship requirements were announced on 20 April 2017, the intention was that these would apply to any applications lodged on or after this date. This is of concern to many permanent residents because there was no advanced notice of the change.
The Committee received many letters from permanent residents who were already eligible for Australian citizenship prior to the announcement of the changes.

47,328 people had lodged applications for citizenship between 20 April and 16 July 2017. The Department of Immigration estimates that 25,788 of these people would not meet the new residence requirement. These applications are not being processed pending gaining certainty around passage of the Bill, and so it is very important for these people to know whether the changes will be retrospective.

The main report recommended that the Government consider introducing transitional provisions so that people who held permanent residence prior to 20 April 2017 would not be affected by the changes.

Dissenting reports recommended that the legislation not be retrospective in effect in any way.

Residence Requirement

The Bill proposes that the current 1 year minimum period of holding permanent residence be increased to 4 years for most applicants. Currently, time spent lawfully in Australia on temporary and bridging visas can count towards the 4-year residence requirement.
The main report did not recommend changing the proposed residence requirement, but did acknowledge the significant impact on permanent residents who had made future plans based on eligibility for Australian citizenship. As a result, the committee recommended that transitional provisions apply to people who held Australian permanent residence as of 20 April 2017.

Dissenting reports were scathing on the proposed residence requirement and in particular:

Residence in Australia on a temporary visa does indicate a commitment to Australia
Not being able to obtain citizenship can reduce people’s contribution to Australia
Quoted many instances of people who had been in Australia for long periods of time and contributed to the economy
Labor cited a lack of evidence that longer residence would actually result in better integration and social outcomes
Integration Test

Dissenting reports held that the proposed changes will negatively impact the cohesion of Australian society and would actually increase the risk of security issues. For instance:
Labour suggested that programs supporting integration into the Australian community be boosted – for instance the Adult Migrant English Program, the National Community Hubs Program, the Translating and Interpreting Service and various State and Territory services
The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) believes that the bill will “create a permanent underclass of Australian residents who will be denied the rights and opportunities of … being Australian citizens”
Children Born in Australia

Children born in Australia currently become Australian citizens by operation of law on their 10th birthday – even if they spend time in Australia without a visa. The proposed legislation would eliminate this pathway.
The main report echoed concerns expressed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, Public Law and Policy Research Unit, Law Council and the Kaldor and Gilbert + Tobin Centres on the impact of the proposed changes, especially for children of asylum seekers and children of parents who had overstayed their visas. However, it made no recommendation to change this aspect of the Bill.

The Greens expressed serious concerns about the impact of the changes on children, particular if they became stateless or were punished for transgressions of their parents. The Greens cited submissions from UNICEF and the Australian Lawyers Alliance. The Nick Xenophon Team report also expressed concerns.

Increase in Ministerial Discretion

Ministerial Discretion to cancel, revoke or delay taking of pledge

The Bill introduced new powers for the Minister to:
Cancel approval for citizenship
Revoke citizenship
Delay an applicant taking the pledge of allegiance for up to 2 years
The main report expressed some concern about the expansion of ministerial discretion but stated that the power to revoke was justified on national security grounds.
Merits Review and Ministerial Discretion

Some Ministerial decisions would be excluded from merits review at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The Minister would also have the power under the proposed legislation to set aside decisions at the AAT, if refusing or revoking citizenship is in the public interest.
On this ground, the main report indicated that the Minister’s power was justified on the basis that they were accountable to the Australian people, whereas the AAT is “accountable to no one”.

The Greens were highly concerned about the Minister’s power to revoke citizenship and override AAT decisions.

Broad Instrument Making Power

Concerns were expressed about the broad instrument making power of the Minister in submissions to the Senate Committee. Instead of having requirements set out in the Citizenship Act, many key requirements would be set out by Legislative Instruments which are not “disallowable” and hence excluded from Parliamentary oversight. An example of this would be the statement of Australian values, but the Bill gives the Minister seemingly unfettered power to make instruments. The explanatory statement indicates that the intention of these is to be able to specify matters such as the method of payment of fees, but there is no explicit restriction to this effect.
The main report echoed concerns which had been expressed by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee but did not make a recommendation to change the Bill in this aspect.

The Nick Xenophon Team report expressed concern about the Minister’s broad instrument making power, particularly in relation to the Australian Values and integration assessment components.

Repeat Sittings of the Citizenship Test

The Bill allowed the Minister to set a maximum number of times an applicant can sit the Citizenship test – the Department of Immigration indicated it would set a limit of 3 times.
The main report suggested that repeat sittings be allowed, but taking the test after 3 times would require the applicant to pay for the cost of the test.

The Nick Xenophon Team report suggested that there be no limit to the number of times a person can sit the test.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has released its Report on the Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Bill 2017

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has released its Report on the Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Bill 2017.
The Committee has made four recommendations:
Recommendation 1
3.122 That the Government clarify the standard for English-language
competency required for citizenship, noting that the required standard should not be so high as to disqualify from citizenship many Australians who, in the past, and with a more basic competency in the English language, have proven to be valuable members of the Australian community.
Recommendation 2
3.123 That the Government reconsider the imposition of a two-year ban on applications for citizenship following three failed attempts of the citizenship test, and consider other
arrangements that allow additional tests on a cost-recovery basis that would deter less-genuine applicants.
Recommendation 3
3.124 That the Government consider introducing some form of transitional provisions for those people who held permanent residency visas on or before 20 April 2017 so that the current residency requirements apply to this cohort of citizenship applicants.
Recommendation 4
3.125 That the Senate pass the bill.

Peter Dutton’s Australian citizenship crackdown doomed after key senators pull support

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s controversial crackdown on Australian citizenship appears doomed, with the crucial Nick Xenophon Team declaring it won’t support the plan as it stands. The proposal, which passed the lower house, would introduce a four-year waiting period for permanent residents, tough English language requirements and a test on Australian “values”. But the changes are set to be blocked in the Senate by Labor, the Greens and now the NXT, which confirmed its position to Fairfax Media on Tuesday. “We will not be supporting the bill’s passage through the Parliament,” NXT senator Stirling Griff said. Mr. Dutton’s plan was “an attempt to fix problems that don’t exist”, he said.  We’re a nation built on migration and the envy of the world when it comes to a harmonious multicultural society. The system isn’t broken, there’s no need for it to be repaired.”

Senator Xenophon also confirmed: “We’ve got serious concerns about the bill in its current form.” senator Griff sat on a Senate inquiry on the proposed citizenship changes and wrote a report opposing most elements of the package, recommending that the bill not proceed.

Dandenong, Victoria visa office to close

The Dandenong Regional Office at 76 Thomas St, Victoria, is closing soon ahead of the building lease expiry. The office will cease serving the public from 4 pm, Thursday 31 August 2017.

This closure takes place as we continue to transform our online services – providing you self-service access to our visa, citizenship, customs and trade information and services anywhere, at a time that suits you.
Our improved website has new features and information that make our visa services easier to understand and use.
Clients who have been asked to attend an appointment with the Department will be seen at our recently refurbished front office at 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.

Citizenship requirement changes pass lower house


The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says he makes no apologies for setting high expectations in the national interest as he prepares for his proposed citizenship changes to be put to the senate.

The Turnbull government used its numbers in the lower house to pass the bill there on Monday night.

“Australian citizenship should be highly valued and the government’s changes will ensure that it is a privilege obtained by only those who’ve demonstrated the most sincere commitment to Australia, our values and respect for our laws, as it should be,” Mr Dutton said in the chamber.

“Regrettably, Australia faces a real and increasing threat from people who embrace violence as a means to pursue extremist beliefs and ideology and therefore reject the values fundamental to Australia, and we should have the necessary levers to ensure such individuals do not benefit from the great privilege that is Australian citizenship.”


Partner Visas 10 Little Known Facts

Whilst partner visas may seem straightforward, the applicable legislation is complex and there are many subtleties most applicants will not be aware of.
This article goes through 10 of the lesser known facts about partner visas.

We highlight some of the potential pitfalls and opportunities to make your application quicker and more straightforward.

1. Lodging Before Marriage

For offshore partner visa applications (subclass 309), it is possible to make an application on the basis of an intention to get married. Providing you are married by the time your application is assessed, you should be able to meet visa requirements.
This is not possible if you are lodging an onshore subclass 820 visa. In this case, you must be married prior to lodgement if relying on legal marriage for grant of the visa.

2. Relationship Register – More Complex than it Looks

Many applicants are aware that registering your relationship can enable you to establish a de facto relationship and being granted a partner visa even if you have not lived together for 12 months.
However, the Relationship Register option can be more complex than it seems – for instance:

If you register your relationship, you still need to provide other evidence of your relationship. For instance, if you have no evidence that you are living together, you are unlikely to be successful even if you have registered your relationship
Some states and territories have a residence requirement for one or both parties before the relationship can be registered
It can take 6 weeks or more for states or territories to process relationship registration applications and provide a certificate of registration
Evidence of registration can be provided at any time up to a decision being made.
3. Financial Interdependence

Whilst cohabitation is the most critical factor, financial interdependence is also very important. Many applications are weak in this area and can be delayed or refused due to insufficient documentation. Here are some tips on the financial interdependence requirement:
Details of a joint bank account are often provided, but this is essentially useless unless both partners are actively using it. You may consider having your salaries paid into the accounting and having joint bills paid out of it.
Joint leases are good evidence of financial interdependence. It is not always possible to add your partner to the lease, but you should still be able to add them to the bond
Joint insurance policies – particularly vehicle insurance – are good evidence
4. Statutory Declarations from Friends and Family

When applying for a partner visa, you will be asked to provide two statutory declarations on Department of Immigration form 888. These are critical documents and here are some little known facts:
They must be provided by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen. 888s done by temporary residents or non-residents will not be sufficient
The 888s must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or other eligible authority
It is best to provide at least one 888 from the sponsor’s parent. If the sponsor’s parents are not aware of and supportive of the relationship, this can count against you in your application
5. Online Lodgement

Lodging online is generally better than lodging a paper application. For instance, paper applications will require all your documents to be provided as certified copies, whereas colour scanned documents can be provided for online applications. However, you should note the following about online applications:
You should upload all documents as soon as possible after lodgement – if this is not done, it can result in refusal of your application
Maximum limits apply to the size of attachments – these should be compressed to reduce size, whilst still being legible
There is a limit to the number of attachments you can provide – you need to be organised to ensure that you provide enough documents for a successful outcome within this limit
6. Decision-Ready Applications

Previously, Immigration has processed partner visa applications in the order in which they were received.
In the last few months this has been changing. Instead, applications which are considered “decision ready” are allocated and processed more quickly.

As processing times for partner visas can be 18 months or more, this makes a “decision ready” application more important than ever.

A decision ready application would normally include comprehensive documentation on:

Supporting documents on the relationship – including cohabitation, financial interdependence and social interdependence
Health checks
All required police clearances
7. Character for Non Visa Applicants

Most people are aware that any family members aged 16 or over included in the partner visa application will need to provide police clearances.
Many are not aware that others may also need to provide police clearances, including:

The Sponsor: if the sponsor has previous convictions, this can lead to refusal of the visa application.
Non-Migrating Dependents: if you have children who are between 16 and 18, they will be considered dependents and will need to provide police clearances, even if they are not included in your partner visa application
8. Applicants on 457 Visas

If you currently hold a 457 visa, you can be in a difficult situation if you cease employment whilst awaiting the outcome of your partner visa application.
Whilst you will receive a bridging A visa on lodgement of an onshore partner application, this will not come into effect until your 457 visa ceases

Partner visa applications lodged onshore can easily take 18 months to be processed

If your 457 visa has a long time to run, you may remain on your 457 visa for some time. Whilst on a 457 visa, you cannot work for another employer unless they are an approved sponsor and transfer your employment by lodging a 457 nomination

If you cease employment for more than 2-3 months, Immigration would normally look at cancelling your 457 visa. If your 457 visa is cancelled, this would also result in the cancellation of your bridging visa, in which case you will become unlawful

If you depart Australia, you can consider voluntary cancellation of your 457 visa – this may be a good option for some applicants

9. Permanent Partner Stage

When making a partner visa application, you will be lodging a combined application for both a temporary partner visa and a permanent partner visa. Generally, the permanent partner visa can only be considered for grant 2 years after the initial application. Here are some lesser-known facts about the permanent partner stage:
The permanent partner stage can be lodged online, even if you lodged a paper application in some cases
You no longer need to wait for an email from Immigration to lodge the permanent stage. You can lodge an online application for the permanent partner stage as soon as you reach the 2-year mark
Processing of the permanent partner stage is currently taking 12 months or more
10. Citizenship for Partners of Australian Citizens

You can look at Australian citizenship once you have your permanent residence. Here are some facts about applying for citizenship as a partner visa holder:
Under the current legislation, you will need to have lived in Australia for the last 4 years, with a maximum of 12 months overseas. Time spent on your temporary partner visa can count towards this requirement, meaning that you may only need to hold a permanent partner visa for 12 months to be eligible for citizenship
Proposed changes to the residence requirement for Australian citizenship will mean that you will need to have to hold your permanent visa for 4 years. As it may take 3 years from the date of lodgement to get your permanent partner visa, this may result in a considerable delay in lodging your citizenship compared to current requirements
Partners of Australian citizens may be eligible for a concession when applying for citizenship. They can count time spent outside Australia as a permanent resident towards the Australian residence requirement. However, they still need to have recently lived in Australia and show a close connection to Australia to be eligible