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.
See here for the various ways you can meet the Functional English requirements: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/english-language/functional-english
Those who can’t meet Functional English requirements are required to have attended about 500 hours of the Adult Migrant English program.