What! Are You Serious? This is the reaction when I tell people about the fees that are payable to lodge Partner Visas in Australia. It is an understandable reaction as it is a significant amount of money to pay.
The cost of Partner Visas in Australia has rapidly increased over the last 10 years.
From just a few thousand dollars to almost $8000 is a huge increase in such a short space of time. In fact, Partner Visa fees in Australia are amongst the highest in the world. However, this has not decreased the demand to apply for Partner visas as it provides a pathway to permanent residency in Australia (ohh you can also be with your partner, which is nice :)).
The Partner Visa costs payable can be even higher if you have children with fees of $3,860 for over 18’s and $1,935 for under 18s payable. This is just the start, further fees can include the cost of Migration Agent fees ($3000 to $6000), health checks ($300+), police checks ($50-$150), airfares, relocation costs. The overall Partner Visa costs in Australia can easily balloon to in excess of $20,000 AUD.
This is a huge amount of money for anyone, but typically Partner Visas are lodged by those who are under 35 years of age (in fact approx 60%) who have not had the time to build up considerable savings or assets. In fact, many Partner Visa applicants are students just surviving to pay their student fees, rent, bills and have enough left over for a midi on the weekend. Seriously though the fees can be a couples life savings and can have a great stress on the relationship moving forward.
To add to this wait times have now increased to 22 to 27 months for onshore Partner Visa 820 and between 16 to 21 months for the offshore Partner Visa 309.
Immigration has cited strong demand for Partner Visas in excess of the number of places available in the programme year, being the main reason for long wait times.
Partner Visa refusals are also on the increase and with it comes no refunds for any Partner Visa fees paid. Couples can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) but with it again comes significant financial costs, not to mention the stress of putting your life on hold for another year or so. AAT fees are currently $1,764, not including any fee for Migration Agents or Lawyers who may assist.
Overall, the one (or two) pieces of advice we would provide to prospective couples wanting to apply for a Partner Visa in Australia is to make sure they do not apply too early without the necessary level of relationship evidence. It can be a very expensive mistake to make.
Also try and ensure to the best of your ability that you have lodged the best possible application you can with enough relevant relationship evidence to meet the requirements.
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