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My partner has a criminal record – can they still sponsor my visa?

When applying for a Partner Visa, a key component of the application is the sponsorship by your Australian Citizen/Permanent Resident partner. As such, there are eligibility considerations that apply to your partner, to help the Australian Government decide whether they are allowed to be a sponsor.

Importantly, if a sponsor has been charged with certain offences this can have implications on their ability to be a sponsor for the application and in some cases, may mean they are not eligible altogether.

Young Couple working on laptop

Relevant Offences and Criminal Record

If the prospective Sponsor has been convicted of a ‘relevant offenceand has a significant criminal record in relation to these kinds of offences, then the sponsorship will be refused.

A relevant offence includes a variety of different charges such as, violence, harassment/stalking, breaches of AVOs, offences involving weapons, and people smuggling and human trafficking offences. A significant criminal record involves sentences of imprisonment for 12 months or more, imprisonment for life and/ or being sentenced to death.

As such, if a prospective sponsor has a ‘significant criminal record’ for an offence that falls within the meaning of a ‘relevant offence’, then the sponsorship must be refused, unless the Minister is satisfied that it is reasonable to approve it instead. If you were to request the Minister approve the application despite this, it would need to be supported by detailed submissions and evidence explaining why it should be approved.

If a prospective sponsor has been convicted of a ‘relevant offence’ but does not have a significant criminal record, the application may not be refused; however, the Australian Government will be required to disclose these matters to the visa applicant partner, and they will need to specifically confirm their awareness of the charges and that they still want to proceed with the application.

Registrable Criminal Offences

If a prospective sponsor has been charged with a registrable offence, and there are applicants under 18 (such as dependent children) included in the application, then the sponsorship application must be refused.

A registrable offence includes certain offences regarding child protection, sex offences and child sex offences.

However, in some situations, the sponsorship application may still be approved. For example, where an offence was a long time ago, the person has not reoffended and there are compelling circumstances. This would require an application to the Minister to approve the application and would need to include supporting evidence and information explaining the above.

What next?

If you think that any of the above could apply to you or your partner, we recommend obtaining legal advice to better understand your position before applying for your Partner Visa. Our team of lawyers have extensive experience in all types of character concerns and the partner visa requirements, and are able to guide you on the process, requirements and the way forward.

If you would like to discuss your current circumstances with one of our team members, please do not hesitate to call us on 1300 245 756. Alternatively, to submit an online enquiry with our office please click here.

Brisbane Office

1300 245 756

50 McDougall Street,
Milton, Brisbane, QLD, 4064
Australia

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Bundall, QLD, 4217
Australia

Sydney Office

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Sydney, NSW, 2000
Australia

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