Limitation on partner visa sponsorships

Did you know that there are limitations on a partner visa sponsorship application? This is applicable to all Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa as well as Subclass 820 and Subclass 309 Partner (Provisional) Visa.

Sponsorship Limitation

The limitation on the partner visa sponsorship is essentially to prevent a person from sponsoring multiple partners. If you have sponsored a person in the past for a partner visa, you would have to wait five years before you can sponsor another person. However, the maximum number a time a person can sponsor in a lifetime is two people.  So, what is counted as ‘sponsoring a person’? Does it matter if the application is submitted, but later the applicant did not travel to Australia? We will go through some examples now.

  • To answer the above question, if the sponsorship was granted, but the applicant did not travel to Australia, it is still counted. You have essentially sponsored a person, and it does not matter that the applicant did not travel to Australia.
  • If the prospective marriage visa was granted, but the wedding did not take place, it counts as using up one of the sponsorships.
  • However, if you put in a sponsorship application, but the visa application was refused, in that case, the sponsorship application is not counted.
Waiver of the limitation

DoHA may waiver the limitation if compelling circumstances are affecting the sponsor. Compelling circumstances include:

  • the applicant and their sponsor have a dependent child who is dependent on each of them or
  • the death of the previous partner or
  • the previous spouse abandoning the sponsor and there are children dependent on the sponsor requiring care and support or
  • the new relationship is longstanding

DoHA will look into the following when considering the compelling circumstances.

  • The nature of the hardship that would be suffered by the sponsor if the sponsorship were not approved.
  • The extent and importance of the ties the sponsor has to Australia, and the consequent hardship that would be suffered if the sponsorship were not approved and the sponsor were to feel compelled to leave Australia to maintain their relationship with the applicant.
Registrable Offence

Another critical assessment conducted by DoHA on the sponsorship application is the sponsor’s character. A sponsorship application is usually refused if a police check indicates that the sponsor has a conviction or outstanding charge for a registrable offence. As such, DoHA will usually ask for Australian police check as well as a foreign police check.

What is considered registrable offences?

Broadly speaking registrable offences are serious offences. These include child abuse, the murder of a child, causing grievous bodily harm to a child, and child pornography possession.

The meaning of registrable offence is derived from the relevant state/territory legislation.

(a)      An offence that is a registrable offence within the meaning of any of the following Acts:

(i)      the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW);

(ii)      the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic);

(iii)      the Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006 (SA);

(iv)      the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 (ACT);

(b)      an offence that would be a registrable offence under paragraph (a) if it were committed in a jurisdiction mentioned in that paragraph;

(c)      an offence that is a reportable offence within the meaning of any of the following Acts:

(i)      the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (Qld);

(ii)      the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (WA);

(iii)      the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2005 (Tas);

(iv)      the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act (NT);

(d)      an offence that would be a reportable offence under paragraph (c) if it were committed in a jurisdiction mentioned in that paragraph.

If the sponsor has been convicted of a registrable offence, the sponsorship application will be refused.


In some circumstances, the above provision may be waived by DoHA. The conditions that must be met are:

  • the sponsor completed the sentence imposed for the registrable offence (including any period of release under recognisance, parole, or licence) more than five years before the date the sponsorship application was lodged and,
  • the sponsor has not been charged with a registrable offence since completion of that sentence, or if the sponsor has been charged with a registrable offence since the completion of that sentence, the charge has been withdrawn, dismissed, or otherwise disposed of without the recording of a conviction and
  • there are compelling circumstances affecting the sponsor or the visa applicant.

‘Compelling’ is given its ordinary dictionary meaning.

Waivers can be extremely complicated. It involves writing a submission to DoHA addressing all the relevant criteria. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Important update: English Test for Permanent Stage of Partner Visas & Partner visa changes ahead- 2021

The new changes to Sponsored family visa’s, will be implemented for Partner visas by the end of 2021. The changes mean that Sponsorships must be lodged first and approved before Partner visas can be lodged. This change will adversely impact onshore Partner visa applicants wanting to lodge a visa application prior to their substantive visa expiring. The sponsorship application will be assessed separately and will need to be approved before a valid Partner visa application can be lodged. 

If you are planning to apply for a Partner visa we recommend booking an appointment to discuss and understand how these changes may impact you.

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