Woman and man in a relationship

When you are a holder of the 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa after November this year, you may be considering lodging a Partner visa in the future. There are also specific laws relating to the Subclass 820 (Partner) visa when the 491 visa takes effect. These changes will mean that if an applicant for a Subclass 820 (Partner) visa is the holder of a 491 visa, or the last substantive visa held by the applicant was a 491 visa, the applicant must have substantially complied with the conditions of that visa.

As you have read in our previous article about the 491 visa, it is subject to a number of conditions, including condition 8579 that requires the holder to live, work and study only in a designated regional area, and other conditions requiring the visa holder to provide information and evidence about their location if requested to do so.

If a person who holds, or who held, a 491 Skilled Work Regional visa subject to those conditions applies for a Subclass 820 (Partner) visa, the person is required to have complied substantially with the conditions before a Subclass 820 visa may be granted. These future changes ensure that the holder of a Subclass 491 visa cannot avoid the conditions on which that visa was granted by applying for a Subclass 820 visa.

A similar law exists already for the 489 visa holders. Immigration will be checking that if you lodge an 820 partner visa whilst you hold a 489 visa or if the 489 visa was the last substantive visa you held, you have substantially complied with the conditions on your 489 visa. Failure to do so may result in the refusal of that Partner visa application.

Now this means that all of you who hold a 489 visa or going to hold a 491 visa in the future, if you fall in love in an Australian Permanent Resident, Eligible New Zealand Citizen or an Australian Citizen, try and ensure that this person is also living in the same regional or designated area as you.

However if it turns out that you end up in a long distance relationship and your partner is living in Sydney and yourself in Dubbo this does not mean you cannot lodge a Partner visa. In assessing the genuineness of a partner relationship it is accepted that couples may live apart if there is a good reason for this occurring. One excellent reason wold be if your partner has a good job in Sydney and your visa conditions does not allow you to live with them in Sydney. Your future plan will be to move together when your visa conditions allow and that separation is only temporary whilst you hold the 489 or 491 visa.

Unfortunately there is another good reason why you may have to live apart for some time. Before you are permitted to apply for the 820 Partner application (making a valid application) you must have held a 489 visa for at least 2 years. For the new 491 visa it will be at least 3 years! The department is very serious about keeping you in bush for as long as they can.

If you have lodged a 820 Partner visa and then your 489 or future 491 visa expires, then you no longer are required to meet the conditions 8539/8549 (489) or 8597 (491). If you have applied for the Partner visa before your visa expired or even from a bridging visa after it expires, you no longer need to meet the 489 or 491 visa conditions. This means you could then move to Sydney to be with your partner without jeopardising your application.

In general for onshore 820 Partner visa applications, when you apply holding a substantive visa, you will be issued a BVA with no conditions on it. However remember this BVA does not take over until that last substantive visa expires. This means in particular, when you lodge a 820 from a 489/491 visa you need to continue to abide by those conditions on your visa.

Are you ready to apply for a 820 Partner visa and you hold a 489 (or 491 in the future)?  We have lodged hundreds of Partner applications and are here to help. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.

Zoe He