What are the changes to the Immigration for 2018?\r\nMigration laws and regulations in Australia are subject to constant change and frequent amendments. It\u2019s important we keep tabs on all changes and in this blog, we introduce a few of these and briefly explore what some of these changes may mean for you.\r\n\r\nWhy did Immigration change their name?\r\nThe Department of Immigration and Border Security has been superseded by the Department of Home Affairs. Home Affairs now deals with all aspects relating to Immigration in Australia.\r\n\r\nIn brief, the Home Affairs Department is a centralised, umbrella body now responsible for Immigration and border security. The function of the department as described on the homepage is to bring \u201ctogether Australia\u2019s federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management, multicultural affairs and immigration and border-related functions and agencies.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs with all big inter-departmental changes, there may be some glitches to overcome, hopefully not something that you as consumers or us as representatives to couples going through the partner visa process have to deal with but we at Freedom Migration are here to help you negotiate the new system \u2013 we\u2019ve got your back!!\r\n\r\nWhat are the Proposed Partner Visa Changes?\r\nPlanned changes to the Partner Visa Programme were expected in 2017 but have been deferred to 2018. The changes have not been applied yet as the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016, which amends the Migration Act of 1958, is still before the Senate.\r\n\r\nThe proposed amendments introduce a sponsorship framework for the Sponsored Family Visa programme and are summarised below:\r\n\r\nThe sponsorship assessment would be separate to the visa application process for family sponsored visas;\r\nPersons nominated as family sponsors would need to be approved by Australian authorities BEFORE visa applications are made;\r\nPersons approved as sponsors would be subject to legal obligations;\r\nApproved sponsors could face civil and administrative penalties if they fail to deliver on their commitments;\r\nSponsorship applications could be refused and family sponsors may be banned, especially where family violence is involved.\r\nChanges would facilitate the disclosure of relevant personal information between parties in the application;\r\nIn line with the new proposals, this means Partner Visa sponsorship applications would need to be lodged under stricter criteria and importantly, approved BEFORE the overseas Partner Visa application can be lodged.\r\n\r\nUnfortunately, this may mean a delay in the lodgement of the overseas partner application and result in altered visa requirements for overseas partners.\r\n\r\nHave the Costs increased for 2018?\r\nThe GOOD news is.....there is currently no indication the department will increase the cost of the lodgement of the partner visa to cover the changes.\r\n\r\nAnd so from our side, we hope this has been helpful - please keep your feedback and questions coming and we will respond to any of your queries.\r\n\r\nQuestions?\r\nIf you have any questions about this blog then please comment below, we love your feedback and we promise to answer.