Sammy Naghi discusses the recent changes to Partner Visas, which were announced at the High Commission of Australia in early March, 2017. Sammy is a dual qualified Solicitor and Barrister of Australia, and a MARA registered migration agent.
What are the ramifications for partner visa applicants completing Medicals and Police Checks at the time of lodgement or too early?
MSL Solicitors was invited by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in London to a Migration Agents Forum in February 2017, held at Australia House. Sammy Naghi and Genevieve Katyar of MSL Solicitors attended this event, which was aimed at further strengthening the positive and professional relationships between the DIBP London team, and the Migration Agents and Lawyers based in the United Kingdom. The forums are used to keep us informed of any legislative, policy and procedural changes.
Among other changes, it was announced that the Australian partner visa processing time has increased significantly from 6 months to (approximately) 10-14 months. We have many clients applying for partner visas; like others, they are patiently waiting in the queue, they are expecting their visas to be processed in 6 months, and they are making arrangements to leave the UK. We have notified all our affected clients, and have adjusted their expectations accordingly so that they can pan ahead for the future. Another issue springs to mind. When should Migration Agents and Lawyers, like MSL Solicitors, recommend that their clients get their medicals and police checks completed?
If I complete any medicals (health) or police (character) checks earlier, does this reduce the processing time? What, if any, are the ramifications?
Health and character checks are usually valid for 12 months from the date of clearance. Obtaining health and character checks earlier will not reduce the processing time for your application, but will determine the date by which you have to travel to Australia if your visa is granted. If these checks are done too early, it may mean that you only have a short time frame in which to enter Australia. Moreover, if they expire, you may need request them again in order for your visa to be granted.
How long will the processing of an Australian partner visa take and what is the reason that the length of wait time for these visas increased by so much as of February 2017?
The current processing time for Australian Partner Migration, processed at the Australian High Commission in London, is at least 10 – 14 months from the date you lodged your application. This time frame is based on the number of applications currently awaiting processing, and the planning levels available in the family stream of the Australian migration program, which is set by the Australian Government as part of the Budget.
The department currently receives more applications than there are places available in the family stream of the migration program. This means that there is some increase in processing times for these visas.
It is therefore recommended that you do not do your medicals or police checks early, or make any irreversible action during the processing of your application (such as ceasing employment, selling property or purchasing airline tickets).
S. Naghi, 2017
This article demonstrates some of the complexities that surround Australian migration law and policy, and highlights some benefits of having representation from a MARA Agent or Migration Lawyer who can help you navigate your way through these obstacles and keep you updated about important changes.
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