Couple’s Visa Application Is Putting Their Relationship On Hold

Angela and Leandro are being forced to hold off on having a family while they prepare to wait 2-years for visa approval.

Roughly 50,000 applications are lodged for people to join their partners permanently in Australia. However, it’s not always an easy process.

In January last year, cancer nurse Angela McBean met her Brazilian partner Leandro who was in Australia on a student visa, studying marketing and English. Within a few months, their relationship had progressed, and she joined Leandro overseas to meet his parents.

Angela meeting Leandro's family
Angela meeting Leandro's family

Angela would be unlikely to get work in Brazil, so they applied for a visa which would allow Leandro to return to Australia permanently. But to do so, Angela had to return, without her partner.

“It’s just, you spend every day with someone that you love and then to have to say goodbye and not know when you’re going to see them again. It’s very difficult.”

But since they applied, the waiting time for the decision has blown out from eight months to almost three times that, putting both their lives on hold.

Angela is 35-years-old, and said it’s going to take two-years for her visa to be granted. She’s worried that this doesn’t leave much time to have a family. “As the age clock ticks, that’s just another thing to take into consideration,” she said.

Angela and Leandro on holiday before being separated
Angela and Leandro on holiday before being separated

It’s reported that 125 thousand applications for family visas, including those for partners, were lodged last year. Only 47,000 were granted, leaving many waiting two years or more for a final ruling.

Migration agent Michael Webster’s spent nearly two decades helping would-be citizens make it to Australia.

“Visa applicants for a partner visa pay in excess of $7,000… It’s something like a 600% increase in the visa application fee compared to what it was five or so years ago. One would hope they could expect a level of service that would see their applications processed in a timely matter.”

To find out more about Angela and Leandro story, watch The Project tonight from 6:30.


A statement by a spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs:

In July 2018, 75 per cent of Partner (Subclass 309) visa applications lodged outside Australia were finalised in 14 months. 90 per cent were finalised in 16 months.

In July 2017, the timeframe was 13-16 months.

In July 2018, 75 per cent of Partner (Subclass 820) visa applications lodged in Australia were finalised in 19 months. 90 per cent were finalised in 24 months.

In July 2017, the timeframe was 18-21 months.

Average processing times for all visas are updated monthly and can be found online.

Information on Partner visa outcomes for 2016-17 can be found in our Migration Program Report. The Department will publish a similar report for the 2017-18 Migration Program year in due course.

The table below outlines the number of partner visa applications refused in 2016-17

Partner refusals for Program Year 2016-17
Partner Subclass Refusals
100/801 5,611
309/820 4,761
Total 10,372

Ongoing strong demand for Partner visas, that exceeds the number of places available in the annual Migration Program, leads to an increasing pipeline of applications waiting for finalisation and lengthened processing times.