Partner visa changes for sponsorship and English language requirements

Partner visa changes for sponsorship and English language requirements are set to come in into force in November 2021.

There are two significant changes that will affect any partner visa application relating to the sponsor and English language requirements.

These changes were introduced in the 2020-21 federal budget and are scheduled at this stage to take effect in November 2021.

If you are thinking of lodging a partner visa it would be prudent to consider doing so as soon as possible if you can.


Currently when you apply for a partner visa you lodge both the sponsorship application and the visa application for the partner at the same time.

Under the proposed changes, a sponsor will have to first be approved to sponsor their partner before the partner can lodge their application.

There is currently no indication around how long these applications will take so it is important to ensure you get expert advice as to lodging a partner visa.

This may well cause issues where the partner is on another visa which is about to expire, and you will need a strategy to ensure you can remain in Australia if the sponsor has not been approved.

English language requirement

The other significant change is that an applicant for the second stage partner visa and their sponsor will need to pass an English language test.

You will have to demonstrate you either have a functional level of English or have made reasonable attempts to learn English.

English language classes through the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) will be expanded to help applicants meet the English language requirement at the time that the second stage permanent partner visa is granted.

It is important that you make use of the time between the first stage temporary visa and before you apply for the permanent visa to ensure you utilise and participate in these free English language lessons and classes.

There will be plenty of time after being granted your temporary partner visa (Subclass 309 or 820) to make use of those free English classes.

The Government when introducing this change has stated it is being implemented so that new migrants can maximise their potential in Australia and participate meaningfully in Australian society and our democracy.

How can FC Lawyers help?

The expert team of accredited specialists and migration agents at FC Lawyers have acted for partners and sponsors in the full range of partner and fiancé visas.

Contact our expert team of immigration lawyers and registered migration agents for assistance.