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Australian partner visa fee increase gains wide criticism

December 22nd, 2014

Australians who fall in love with anyone from outside the country now have a further price to pay for the visas needed to bring them into the country. In a recent mid-year budget announcement, a rise in the cost of partner visa applications was announced which took many people by surprise as it was a very big rise – fifty percent. This brings the cost of an offshore provisional or permanent partner visa (subclass 309/100) and a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300) to A$4,627.50, rising from A$3,085. It is even more expensive for anyone applying for a temporary and permanent partner visa onshore (subclass 820 / 801) – this has risen to A$6,865.50 from A$4,575. The rises come into force on 1 January 2015, which gives applicants a very short time in which to make their applications at the old price.

It has been suggested that this increase is to pay for other items on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) budget but Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, is already on record as saying that these items will be paid for using other funds. Extra costs which the DIBP will have to meet include an extra A$140 million over two years to fund 7,500 places for refugees as part of the enlarged humanitarian programme. They also plan to spend an extra A$32 million on the border protection system, which was upgraded in 2012 with the purchase of the vessel Ocean Shield. It isn’t all spend, though – the new transit centre in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, has been put on hold, saving a possible spend of A$96.5 million, with asylum seekers whose applications have failed now being kept in Manus Island as before while they await repatriation.

It is important to take proper care over applications like this as any problem with paperwork, whether it is missing or incomplete in some way, will result in a failed application. This will mean beginning again and going to the back of the queue and also, of course, paying another fee. Anyone who is not quite ready to apply should think carefully as a failed application will cost even more in the long run.