As part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget, the Government announced that it will implement reforms to strengthen the integration outcomes of the Partner program by the end of 2021. These include:
Currently, when you apply for a partner visa you submit both the sponsorship application and the visa application for the partner at the same time. The Department intends on applying the family sponsorship framework whereby:
the sponsor (Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen) first lodges a sponsorship application; and
the migrating partner lodges a visa application if and when the sponsorship is approved.
The sponsor will need to undergo character checks and if the sponsor is an Australian permanent resident, they will be required to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English.
English language requirement
The applicant (as well as any Australian permanent resident sponsor) will have to demonstrate that they have Functional level English (Average of: 4.5 in IELTS; 30 in PTE) or that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English*. This requirement must be met when the application reaches the permanent Partner visa (subclass 801) stage.
These changes are expected to come into effect in November 2021.