Changes to partner visas -2021

Partner Visa Changes expected to commence in November 2021

(summary from recent Migration Institute of Australia update)

English requirements for new applications:

Visa applicants will require Functional English for grant of the permanent visa (stage 2).

New sponsorship arrangements:

Partner visa applications cannot be lodged without an approved sponsorship.

Sponsors will require Functional English and must meet character requirements before the sponsorship can be approved.

Onshore visa applicants must remain lawful until the visa  application is lodged. This could cause problems for visa applicants whose visa expires, before the sponsorship has been approved.

Functional English

See here for the various ways you can meet the Functional English requirements:

Those who can’t meet Functional English requirements are required to have attended about 500 hours of the Adult Migrant English program.



  1. Ben says:

    October 20th, 2020 at 2:30 am


    My current visa expires next March. My partner is an Australian citizen and we plan on applying for a parter visa before march. With the new changes, have they given a time frame for how long it takes for the partner to become an approved sponsor? And how do we go about applying?


  2. CCMS says:

    October 20th, 2020 at 2:56 am

    The new requirements are not implemented until November 2021, so should not affect you.

  3. Natalia says:

    July 12th, 2021 at 11:19 am


    My current visa expires mid March 2022 and I am planning on applying for a onshore partner visa in January 2022 (eventhough I probably will end up speeding the process). Just concerned about one thing, even if my partner applies to be an approved sponsor on the 1st of November and there’s still four months until my visa expires, there is no garantee he’d get approved before that and there is no existing Brindging visa anymore in between?

    Thank you,

  4. CCMS says:

    July 12th, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Natalia, we don’t know anything about the process yet and how long it will take. I would definitely allow plenty of time. I will post an update when I know more.

  5. Lachlan says:

    July 13th, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    My partner and I plan to apply in November 2021 (funny timing, in hindsight).
    Do we have a more certain date of implementation of the new policy?

    Also, do we have any information how long it has taken sponsors to receive sponsorship approval in the other visas that use this system currently? For example, the Parent sponsor for subclass 870 uses this system. Particularly Aussie passport holders with no criminal history


  6. CCMS says:

    July 26th, 2021 at 5:06 am

    They mentioned 6 weeks just to check the sponsor’s criminal history, so I would not be surprised if it took several months at least. But we have no information as yet to cast any light on it. Official processing time for sc. 870 sponsors is from 68 days to 5 months!

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