If you are planning on applying for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa, before you do so it is important to know that there are certain sponsorship limitations, which may apply to you.
You are only allowed to sponsor 2 approved spouses, fiancés or de facto partners. You will then not get approval for another sponsorship under any of the Partner of Prospective Marriage categories, for at least 5 years after submitting the first visa application.
If you migrated as the sponsored or nominated partner, the same restriction applies to you. This means you will not be able to sponsor or nominate another spouse, fiancé, de facto partner or interdependent partner for a minimum of 5 years from the time your own visa application was made. This restriction may be waived under special circumstances.
Understanding How the Two Sponsorships are Considered
Every individual is allowed only two sponsorships. This applies to both temporary and permanent visas. Two stage partner visas are considered as a single sponsorship. The number of partners you sponsor is also taken into consideration. There are certain circumstances under which your earliest sponsorship may or may not count.
Your earlier sponsorship does not count under these circumstances:
- The connected visa application was denied
- You were first sponsored as a spouse and then again as the fiancé (this is considered as 1 sponsorship).
- You travelled to Australia on a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) but did not marry your sponsor. You later married another person and applied for a Partner visa.
Your earlier sponsorship counts under these circumstances:
- The person you sponsored was granted a visa but failed to travel to Australia – the fact is the visa was granted so that counts
- Your fiancés sponsorship was approved and the visa was granted, but the marriage did not occur even though the applicant travelled to Australia
- A spouse sponsorship visa was cancelled prior to the spouse entering Australia
- You were granted a sponsored visa on the grounds of family violence, but the relationship between you and your sponsor has ceased
- Your sponsored Partner visa was granted based on your sponsor having passed away.
Understanding the 5 Year Limitations
The 5-year limitation was imposed to prevent people from abusing the system. It affects you regardless of whether you are sponsoring someone or you are the one being sponsored.
If you had applied for a partner sponsorship and now want to make another application for your new partner, you must understand how to calculate the 5-year commencement.
For sponsors who have sponsored or nominated another person, the 5-year period commences from the date the first visa application was made to the date a decision is made on the new application.
For sponsors who were sponsored previously, the 5-year period commences from the date their visa application was made to the date a decision is made on the new application.
The important date is the date on when the sponsorship decision was made. Based on this, you may not need to wait for 5 years before starting your new application. However, you will face the limitation if the decision is made before the 5 years are up.
Understanding Compelling circumstances
If you and your partner are experiencing compelling circumstances, the ban may be waived and the sponsorship approved. Compelling circumstances may include but are not limited to:
- Death of a previous partner
- The applicant and their sponsor have a dependent child who is dependent on each of them.
- The earlier spouse abandoned the sponsor but there are children who are dependent on the sponsor and who need care and support
- The new relationship is long standing
The Department of Home Affairs takes the following factors into consideration when evaluating the circumstances under which a waiver may be granted:
- The detriment or the nature of the hardship that the sponsor may experience is the sponsorship was not approved
- If a sponsor who has strong ties with Australia feels compelled to leave the country as the only way to maintain their relationship with the applicant
Are you looking to sponsor a partner but are unclear about whether or not the limitations apply to you? Before you make any decisions, it is always a good idea to speak to an experienced migration agent who will be able to give you the best advice as to how to proceed.