Previously we have explored the different types of Partner Visas which are available for your Circumstances. Regardless of which visa you are applying for you will need to be sponsored for the application by an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident. The sponsor, or in other words your de-facto partner, must meet a number of criteria to be eligible to sponsor you. It is very important to understand this before you begin your Visa application.
The sponsorship application will not be refused if you have been convicted of a relevant offence. However, the sponsor must give permission to the Department to disclose any relevant offences to the Visa application
If the sponsor has any convictions of a relevant offence, including those that have been nullified or quashed it is extremely important that you make the department aware and where appropriate provide an explanation.
They might include:
- violence, including murder, assault, sexual assault or the threat of violence
- harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking
- the breach of an apprehended violence or similar order
- firearms or other dangerous weapons
- people smuggling
- human trafficking, slavery or slavery-like practices (including forced marriage), kidnapping or unlawful confinement
- attempting to commit any of these offences
- aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring such offences
A registrable offence, for the purpose of visa sponsorship, is an offence against a child of a violent or sexual nature that would lead to registration on the Australian National Child Offender Register.
Registrable offences are defined in the various Child and Community Protection Acts in each of the states and ultimately the offence would be registrable if committed in any of these states.
Registrable offences can be particularly problematic if the application involves children as secondary applicants.
Substantial Criminal Record
Whilst the sponsorship application will not be refused on the basis of a relevant offence, it can and usually is refused if the potential sponsor has a substantial criminal record.
A sponsor is taken to have substantial criminal record if you have been sentenced to:
- life Imprisonment
- imprisonment of 12 months or more
- two or more terms in prison that total twelve months or more
If you do have a substantial criminal record the sponsorship application will be refused unless it is reasonable not to. All circumstances will be considered and due consideration will be given to the application to:
- how long it has been since the sponsor completed their sentence
- the best interests of any child or the sponsor or primary visa applicant
- how long the sponsor and the main visa applicant have been in a relationship
If you are concerned about the character requirements for your sponsorship application you should contact a registered migration agent to discuss in full.
Limitations on Sponsorship
Assuming you meet the character requirements, there are still some limitations on a successful application that you should be aware of. The biggest limitation to be aware of as a sponsor is that you can only sponsor a spouse, de-facto partner or fiancé twice.
If for whatever reason your initial relationship has broken down and you are looking to sponsor another applicant, you must wait 5 years before you are able to sponsor someone else. This rule also applies to the applicant being sponsored.
The 5 years is calculated from the date of the previous visa application to the date of approval/refusal of the current sponsorship. So given the prolonged processing times you are able to start the process again before the 5 year period has elapsed however if the 5 year period has not expired at the time of decision, the limitation will come into force and the sponsorship application may be refused.
The important thing to take from this is that Sponsorship is not a foregone conclusion. The sponsor is just as involved in the application as the applicant, so it is important to give the sponsorship application the same consideration.