New requirements for Sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage visas lodged on or after 18 November 2016

 

December 2016

The Australian government is committed to reducing violence in the Australian community, including family and sexual violence. For all Partner and Prospective Marriage visa applications lodged on or after 18 November 2016, sponsors will be required provide Australian and/or foreign police checks and give the Department permission to disclose convictions for certain offences to the visa applicant/s.

The changes only apply to visa applications made on or after 18 November 2016. If the visa application was submitted before 18 November 2016, the new requirements will not apply, even if the sponsorship form is lodged after 18 November 2016.

These changes do not affect applicants who already hold a subclass 309 or 820 temporary Partner visa and are waiting for a decision on the subclass 100 or 801 permanent Partner visa.

Family violence protection measures

Sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage visas lodged on or after 18 November 2016 will be required to:

  • provide police checks to the department when requested and
  • consent to the department disclosing any conviction for a relevant offenceto the applicant/s being sponsored.

If the sponsor does not provide this consent, the visa application will be refused. An application can also be refused if the sponsor does not provide the police checks within a reasonable time.

Sponsorship will not be approved if you have a conviction for a relevant offence and a substantial criminal history.

A relevant offence is an offence against a law, either in Australia or overseas, involving:

  • violence, including murder, assault, sexual assault and the threat of violence
  • harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking
  • the breach of an apprehended violence order, or a similar order
  • firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • people smuggling
  • human trafficking, slavery or slavery-like practices (including forced marriage), kidnapping or unlawful confinement
  • attempting to commit any of these offences
  • aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring such offences.

This does not include convictions for relevant offences that have been quashed or otherwise nullified or pardoned.

A visa application will not be refused if a sponsor has convictions for a relevant offence, but does not have a significant criminal record. However, the convictions for relevant offences will be disclosed to the visa applicant/s to help them make an informed decision about continuing with their application.

A sponsor is considered to have a significant criminal record if they have been sentenced to:

  • death
  • imprisonment for life
  • a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more
  • 2 or more terms of imprisonment, where the total of those terms is 12 months or more.

If a sponsor has convictions for a relevant offence and a significant criminal record, the visa will be refused unless the Department assesses that it is reasonable not to. When making this assessment, all the circumstances of the application will be considered. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • the length of time since the sponsor completed the sentence(s) for the relevant offence(s)
  • the best interest of any children of the sponsor or primary visa applicant
  • the length of the relationship between the sponsor and primary visa applicant.

Should you need any assistance in applying for a Partner visa or Prospective Marriage visa, please contact Swift Migration Australia on (07) 5526 6869 or email hp@swiftmigrationaustralia.com