THREE YEAR WAITING TIME FOR PERMANENT PARTNER VISA AND SEPARATE APPLICATION FEE FOR SECOND STAGE APPLICATION
A meeting minute from a meeting with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection revealed that the Department has a proposal to introduce 3 year waiting time for the applicants of the Partner Visa moving to the permanent visa.
Under the current policy, the applicant of partner visa is granted of a temporary partner visa first and then a permanent visa will be granted after a two-year waiting time if the relationship with the Australian partner is genuine and still continue. If the proposal passed, the applicant will need to wait for 3 years instead of 2 years.
Besides the above proposed changes of waiting time, the Department also proposes to charge a separate second stage application fee. Currently, the applicant only need to pay $6865 (the fee will soon go up to $7000 on 1 July 2017) for the temporary and permanent partner visas. If the proposal passed, another application fee will be charged in the permanent partner stage on top of $7000.
DIBP also gave information that they currently have 63000 offshore Partner visa applications and 88000 onshore applications in the pipeline and the processing times for onshore applications are between 16-23 months. Due to resource constraints of the Department, the onshore Partner visa will be expected to take up to 3-3.5 years to finalise. Moreover, the traditional mail-out letter at the 2-year point of eligibility for the permanent visa will be discontinued so the applicants need to mark their own time for eligibility.
The current average processing time for partner sponsorship assessment is about six months and it is expected that the processing time for this assessment will also increase accordingly.