When your partner applies for a partner visa, you will need to be his or her sponsor. But what is ‘sponsoring’ a partner? Why is it called sponsoring? Read on and find out.

What is sponsoring?

When we think about sponsoring someone, or being sponsored by someone else, it always involves an exchange of value.

Australia’s official dictionary, the Macquarie, defines a sponsor as follows:

  1. someone who vouches or is responsible for a person or thing; 
  2. a person, firm, or other organisation that finances a radio or television program in return for advertisement;
  3. to act as sponsor for.

In terms of partner visas in Australia, we look mainly to the first definition. As your partner’s sponsor, you are responsible for both the person and any family he or she may have, such as children.

This image of two partners on a windy beach is used under a Creative Commons license. View the original at https://www.flickr.com/photos/heidiologies/
Image used under creative commons license. Credit: Heidiologies (Flickr).

 

Being a sponsor means giving accommodation and money… for 2 years

For up to two years after your sponsorship is granted, you must give your partner (and family) accommodation and financial support. This includes any time that it takes to complete any English language courses.

Consider whether you can take the sponsor’s role

Sometimes, even if you want to act in the best interests of someone, you would not be financially able to support them for two years if they were not working. When you and your partner are considering applying for a visa, do consider what you are agreeing to do. This is very important if you are in a relatively new relationship, or if your job or housing is not secure.

Being financially responsible means being able to pay for all of their needs for that period of time. Keep in mind, too, that all of your household costs are likely to increase: Food, utilities, water, and transportation.

Who can be a partner sponsor?

The most important requirement is that you are in a committed and ongoing relationship. Besides that, there are also other requirements that relate to age and suitability.

To sponsor your partner you must, among other things:

  • be in a married, or de facto, relationship with the person
  • be older than 18 
  • be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

What would stop me being a sponsor?

There are a lot of reasons why you might not be approved as a sponsor.

If you:

  • have been sponsored for a partner or prospective marriage visa in the last five years
  • have already successfully sponsored two people for migration to Australia on a partner visa
  • have already sponsored someone for migration to Australia on a partner visa within five years
  • were granted a Women at Risk visa, and are applying to sponsor your partner who was with you when you received that visa
  • … and other things besides

… then your visa might not be granted.

Remember, too, that character and health requirements still apply to the person whom you wish to sponsor.

How long does it take?

Partner visas take a long time to be approved. We recently published an article about how long it takes to have a visa approved. You can read more about how long it takes here.

If you’re not sure, don’t guess!

One of the worst things you can do when you are applying for a visa is to guess. You risk having your application refused. It can be completely heartbreaking to lodge an application, and wait for 18 months, only to have the application refused.

When it comes to your life and your family’s life, talk to a lawyer and do it right the first time.

For more information about partner visas and sponsorship, contact Richard today »