Do I need financial support or assurances of support for partner visa applications?
Today we’re talking about financial support and proving financial resources as a sponsor of a partner visa application.
Lately I’ve been receiving questions around financial support and whether the sponsor needs to have an amount of money in their bank account, how do sponsors prove that they can provide financially for the applicant and similar types of questions.
There’s also a lot of misinformation going around, usually by people and companies that make money off lending sponsors money to ‘show’ that they have enough in their bank accounts.
Yes, this is a common practice for partner visas around the world, including the US and UK where a sponsoring partner must be employed and earn a salary over a certain amount of money before they are allowed to sponsor their partner. However, Australia is not a country that requires sponsors to earn over a certain threshold before they can sponsor. Thankfully!
Simply put: there is no need for an assurance of support for partner visa applications.
Let me break it down for you why this confusion exists. This is very similar to the changes to the process announced last year where there was confusion around sponsorship requirements.
Partner visas do not require assurances of support
Partner visas are part of the Family visa streams or the Family Migration Programme. Most family visas require a sponsor and assurances of support. Partner visas do not. So back when the changes to the process happened, a lot of migration agents were incorrectly reporting that partner visa sponsors had to submit a separate application to become approved sponsors first. A requirement of being an approved sponsor under the Family stream is to show that you have enough money. If they had read further into the legislation (and understood it) they’d realise that attention to detail really pays off. While the new process applied to partner visa applications, to become an approved sponsor for partner visas, sponsors only need to be able to provide for their partner financially during the 2 years that the visa application is processing. The proof of this is actually an undertaking by the sponsor which means the sponsor agrees to be financially responsible for the partner.
Financial aspect of the relationship
The only other time that you need to prove finances in your partner visa application is how you two as a couple have managed your finances in your relationship. This is otherwise known as the financial aspect of the relationship and it is one of the 4 criteria of what the Department considers a relationship.
This is where you need to show how you and your partner have shared your expenses, conducted your finances, pooled your finances, shared liabilities or assets. I’ve written extensively about how to prove the financial aspect of your relationship and further details and sample evidence is included in the book.
Full Court case confirming there is no need to show money in bank account
A recent Full Court case has further backed up that there is no need to demonstrate that you have money in the bank during the processing time. That is, it is enough to say you have the ability to support them, without actually showing that you have the money in your bank in order to satisfy the ‘financial aspect’ requirement. This case shows that it is not a legal requirement to provide bank statements or assurances of support for partner visa applications.
In Babar v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs  FCAFC 38 (12 March 2020) Mr Babar was refused a visa because his partner was not considered an approved sponsor. After a few appeals (you can read the full case and reasoning it at the link above) it was decided by the Full Court that the case officer, in refusing the visa application, had superimposed additional requirements that go beyond what is required by the Regulation.
Specifically, Regulation 1.20 only requires that the sponsor makes the undertaking. It doesn’t state that the case officer has the power to approve a sponsor based on that criterion (as in the case officer must consider all 4 aspects of the relationship, not just one thing). Furthermore, the sponsor does not need to prove that they have the capacity to meet the requirement in Reg 1.20.
What does this mean for you?
Absolutely nothing has changed and in fact, now you know even more about the process and can cite a court case to back you up too.
However, in practical terms, do make sure that you are able to support your partner and yourself during the processing period. With partner visas taking up to two years to be approved, if your partner is onshore and restricted from working (which might happen depending on what visa type they hold when they applied, whether the bridging visa A has kicked in or not etc) it could be financially difficult for both of you. Australia is an expensive country and while you don’t need to show you have a set amount of cash in your bank account, it would be wise to consider this before applying.
So to recap:
- There is no assurance of support for partner visas
- You are not required to have money in the bank or any other means to show that you have ‘enough’ finances to support your partner during the processing period
- There is no set amount of how much money you have to prove
- Case officers cannot refuse your visa because you have no provided proof that you can support your partner financially
The Australian Partner Visa Guide goes into more details around proving the financial aspect of your relationship and what evidence you could provide for this. The sample statutory declarations also show you how you can write about it and describe your financial situation in a way that would make sense to the case officer.
Remember, the financial aspect of the relationship is how you as a couple manage your finances, not to show that you give each other money or that one has enough money to support the other.
That’s all folks, hope you have found a little relief from knowing that your eligibility to sponsor your partner to Australia is not based on how much money you have in your bank account. And don’t let anyone bully you into thinking this (I’m looking at you unscrupulous money lending companies and ill-informed migration agents).