Partner Visa Update for Subclass 309 Offshore Applicants

Partner Visa Update for Offshore Subclass 309 Applicants

Written by Julie Williams | MARN 9903637 | Published 18 January 2024

Partner Visa Update for Subclass 309 Offshore Applicants

As of 25 November 2023, Australia’s Partner Visa Program has become simplified with the removal of the distinction between ‘onshore’ and ‘offshore’ applicants, making it easier for those who are residing outside of Australia.

There are two separate pathways in the Partner Visa Program: Onshore (Subclass 820/801) and Offshore (Subclass 309/100).

For those onshore you are required to be inside Australia at time of application and decision of your 820/801 whereas offshore applicants applying for the Subclass 309/100 require you to be outside of Australia at time of application and when a visa decision is made.

The main change is that offshore Partner (Subclass 309) visa applicants no longer need to be outside Australia when their visa decision is made. Please note that you are still required to hold a valid visa whilst in Australia, until the grant of your Subclass 309 visa.

Importantly, these changes also grant offshore applicants the right to directly appeal decisions through Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), a right previously limited to sponsors.

During border closures, the government introduced a temporary concession allowing offshore applicants to stay onshore for visa decisions. As the COVID-19 concession period concluded on 25 November 2023, recent amendments have made this concession permanent, ensuring fairness and flexibility for all partner visa applicants.

These changes offer extra protection, especially for subclass 309 visa applicants, in case of relationship breakdowns. Previously, offshore applicants had limited review rights, relying solely on their Australian sponsors for appeals. With the new rules, subclass 309 visa applicants can now directly access appeal processes, creating a fairer system.

This is a positive step forward in streamlining the Australian visa process for couples.

To learn more about these changes and how they could impact you, get in touch with one of our qualified Registered Migration Agents via [email protected] to arrange a consultation.

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Before any immigration advice can be provided, we must hold an initial consultation which will attract a fee of $385.

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