By Scott Walker
The proposed integrity of partner visa Bill goes before the Parliament on the 19th of September, 2018. My question is who’s integrity is in question here? If the bill comes in, sponsorship’s will need to be approved before applications can be lodged. So what does this mean? Well in the big picture it could mean a lot.
Currently offshore partner visas are taking 14 to 16 months to be decided, and onshore 19 to 24 months, however onshore applicants get a bridging visa to stay together while the outcome is decided, offshore applications don’t, and partners are forced to live apart in many cases.
What this Bill can do is allow the Department to delay a sponsorship approval until the applicant is outside the country, effectively forcing applicants to lodge offshore, separating families for over 14 months.
So will the processing time improve? That was the original claim by the department but I am skeptical. I have seen no evidence of processing times improving in any visa class over the last 18 months. In fact, most classes have gotten significantly worse under “heightened scrutiny”. The reality is with the same amount of resources and more checking to be required I can only see times increasing, separating, and I suspect in some cases destroying families.
So, is this bill really about integrity? If the bill passes it could have a downward affect on bridging visa numbers, one of the key numbers used by the opposition to argue the integrity of the governments claimed reduction in permanent immigration numbers. The opposition, quite rightly pointed out that a drop in overall permanent numbers is not a true measure. If the real issue is less grants due to processing inefficiency and more people appealing poor decision. Bridging visa numbers are hard proof that the numbers provided by the government are misleading.
So maybe the bill is about integrity. Just not the applicants’ actual integrity, but the government’s (or lack thereof).
If you are thinking of lodging a partner visa, I would encourage you to act quickly and contact Active Migration Australia to assist you in preparing your strongest application.
CEO of Active Migration Australia