Priorities given to Australian Family Visas

Applications for family stream visas are prioritised depending on which visa you apply for. The following are examples of the priorities given to various visa categories.

For primary applicants of an Australian sponsor, priority is given in the following order:

  • partner or child
  • orphan relatives
  • contributory parents.

Priority is then given to those applying for carers, parent visas, remaining relative and aged dependent relative visas.

Priorities for Partner Visas

The Partner Section of the DIBP (Department of Immigration & Border Protection) are currently moving case loads around the country to their different processing offices to help speed up processing.

If you are affected by the Schedule 3 criteria for which we’re seeing many more case loads, these applications are being processed by the Melbourne office.

Schedule 3 criteria is affecting those applicants who lodged an onshore application whilst not holding a substantive visa. This means that you are either unlawful or the holder of a bridging visa. The history of the Schedule 3 was that it used to be a small case load, however the Department have seen an expendential growth in clients applying without a substantive visa, often resulting in a refusal.

The Department are priority processing those applications affected by Schedule 3. They are reviewed in the first six months after lodgement and there is now a lot higher refusal rate.

The Department are examining each application closely from a policy point of view rather than the broad approach that was previously taken. The update of Department policy from 1 July has given the case officer a greater clarity when assessing applications and the waiver is intended to give people an exemption for those who have a real ‘compassionate and compelling’ circumstance.

The reason for this stricter guideline and closer scrutiny is to ensure that the Department are bringing integrity into the partner visa programme.

Migration Downunder have first-hand experience on meeting the Schedule 3 criteria both at the time of application and at the AAT appeal stage.

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