Partner Visa is one of the most common pathways to obtaining permanent residency in Australia. It provides for spouses or a de facto partner of an Australian permanent resident or citizen to reside permanently in Australia with their partner. Applicants, both heterosexual and same-sex couples, need to establish that theirs is a genuine and continuing relationship.
There are two types of Partner Visas available. One is for onshore applicants, the other for offshore applicants.
The Partner Visa – Onshore Application – is available to persons currently inside Australia provided there are no conditions attached to their existing substantive Visa which prohibits them from applying. Once the application is lodged and, if approved, the applicant will receive temporary or provisional permanent residency. The applicant may be entitled to full work and study rights in Australia in addition to Medicare benefits. However, if the relationship breaks down during this period the applicant’s Visa may be revoked.
After two years on such a Visa the applicant’s relationship will be reassessed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and if the relationship is still deemed to be genuine and continuing then the applicant will be granted a Partner Visa which, in effect, gives them permanent residency.
The Partner Visa – Offshore Applicants – works in a similar way but for the fact that the applicant must be outside Australia when the application is lodged. Such applications usually have conditions to their visas restricting them from applying whilst in Australia.
Both married and de facto couples are eligible to apply for a Partner Visa provided they have been in a relationship for at least 12 months from the time the application is lodged. The onus is on the applicant to satisfy the Department that the relationship is genuine, committed and ongoing.
Such applications are heavily scrutinised and each application is determined on its merits. Applicants and sponsors need to satisfy a high threshold of proof to establish the legitimacy of the relationship.
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