The Australian Immigration Department to introduce changes to the Family Visa program to help applicants impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Government plans to allow certain Family visas applicants who made applications outside Australia to remain in country when the visa is approved.
The current rules require applicants applying from outside Australia to be outside Australia when a decision on the application is being made. This means applicants must fly out of the country and return if their visas have been approved.
The current travel bans and international flights problems leave many applicants stuck in Australia as they are unable to depart to allow their Australian family visas to be granted. Many had their visa applications ready for approvals when the pandemic hit leaving them stranded in Australia, including many on visas with no work rights.
The temporary concession will allow applicants who are in Australia and who are unable to travel offshore because of border closures to be granted the visa.
The Australian Government estimates the change will benefit about 4000 visa applicants, currently remaining in Australia. A significant proportion of the onshore applicants are those who have applied for Australian Partner or Australian Spouse visa offshore.
These proposed changes are temporary measures introduced on top of doubling the number of Partner visa places in 2020-21 to 72,300, which would help to clear the backlog of Partner visa applications.
The temporary concession to allow applicants to remain in Australia to progress their visa will apply to the following Family visa subclasses:
• Partner (subclass 309) visa
• Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa
• Child (subclass 101) visa
• Adoption (subclass 102) visa
• Dependent Child (subclass 445) visa
The changes will come into effect early 2021. There are further changes planned for Australian partner visa applications, including a mandatory English langue test for certain applicants.
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