Festive Season Office Closure

From the entire Thames Migration team, we wish you all a merry festive season and a Happy New Year!

Partner Visa Changes Commencing in November 2021

Australian Partner Visas are about to change

There is about to be a major change to the way partner visas are processed splitting the process into 2 distinct and separate parts. Prior to these changes an application consisted of a sponsorship application by the Australian half of the relationship together with a visa application by the other partner and dependants. These processes next month will now be considered separately on their own individual merits.

In November, the new reforms will consist of the following:

  • Introducing an English language requirement for permanent resident sponsors and Partner visa applicants; and
  • Applying a new sponsorship framework that will require Australian sponsors to become ‘approved sponsors’ before an applicant can proceed to lodge a partner visa.

Sponsorship approval

In November, the Australian sponsor of the Partner visas will be required to apply for, and be approved as a sponsor before the visa application is lodged. If for any reason the sponsorship is not approved (the sponsor for example, is found to not be of good character) then the visa application cannot be made. There is no indication yet as to what fees will be charged or the exact requirements that sponsor and applicant will have to meet, though they will in all probability have at least to meet the current standard. Whether additional criteria will be set for sponsor or applicant is not yet known. The other unknown at present is how long it is going to take to complete this new process.

As always, there will also be obligations on the sponsor to notify of any changes in circumstances and failure to do this will most likely result in penalties.

If this additional step to the sponsorship component is to be extended this will negatively impact onshore Partner visa applicants wanting to lodge a visa application prior to their substantive visa expiring.

English language requirements

The Australian Partner visa program does not presently require applicants or sponsors to meet any English language requirements.

The upcoming Partner visa reforms will require visa applicants and their permanent resident sponsors to provide evidence of a functional level of English or to demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to learn English at the time of the permanent Partner visa stage.

Which visas will these requirements apply to?

What is considered ‘Functional English

You can demonstrate you have functional English if you:

  • Completed a degree, higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside of Australia that required at least two years of full-time study and all instruction was in English;
  • You completed all years of primary and at least 3 years of secondary school in or outside of Australia and all instruction was in English;
  • You completed 5 years of secondary school in or outside of Australia and all instruction was in English;
  • You completed 1 year of full-time study towards an award in Australia and all instruction was in English;
  • You completed the part-time equivalent of 1 year of full-time study towards an award in Australia and all instruction was in English;
  • You achieved an average band score of 4.5 in IELTS;
  • You achieved a total band score of at least 32 in TOEFL iBT;
  • You achieved a total band score of at least 30 in PTE; or
  • You achieved a total band score of at least 147 in CAE.

Who will be exempt from the English language requirements?

These requirements will apply to passport holders from countries other than:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • United States
  • United Kingdom

How Thames Migration can help you position your Partner visa application

If you are planning on applying for a partner visa in the near future, we highly recommend that you consider applying for the partner visa application sooner rather than later.

If you would like further information on the Australian Partner visa reform, assistance applying for a Partner visa or for further assistance with any other migration or visa issues, please contact our offices in Australia or the United Kingdom today.

Communication Outage Facebook, Whatsapp and Telephone Rectified

The three apps – which are all owned by Facebook, and run on shared infrastructure – stopped working on Monday 4th October.

Other related products, such as Facebook Messenger and Workplace, also stopped working including Whatsapp. As a company we also encountered technical difficulty with our telephone system at the same time.

We wish to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused and would like to reassure our customers all systems are now working accordingly.

We can be contacted at our UK, London office on 0208 996 0120 should you wish to discuss your migration options for either UK or Australia. Alternatively, if you are in Australia, we can be reached at our Melbourne office on 1300 799 877.

We look forward to assisting you with your visa and migration options.

Travel and Capacity Exemptions

Travel Exemption:

Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry to Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.

Travel restrictions are subject to change in response to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

If you require more information about this process, or have applied and been denied a travel exemption, Thames Migration is able to assist in applying for a travel exemption for compassionate or compelling situations, business or critical skills for travel to Australia.


Capacity Exemption:


The airlines may ask for a “capacity exemption” as the flight would have been at capacity. To board the passenger above capacity, the airline may request the passenger to get an exemption to board above the caps.

The passenger should be looking at flights that are not at capacity to avoid this. We confirm that the Australian High Commission (London) do not provide this capacity exemption.

For more information and guidance for Travel or Capacity Exemptions, please contact us.

Department of Home Affairs Visa Application charges – Increases 1 July 2021

Subclass                                                         Base charge      Add App >18yo               Add App <18yo

858 (Distinguished Talent)                           $4,180               $2,095                               $1,045

186 (Employer Nomination Scheme)           $4,115                 $2,060                             $1,030

801 (Partner)                                                 $7,850                $3,930                              $1,965

100 (Partner)                                                 $7,850                $3,930                              $1,965

300 (Prospective Marriage)                          $7,850                $3,930                              $1,965

143 (Contributory Parent)                            $4,225                 $1,425                               $715

189 (Skilled – Independent)                         $4,115                $2,055                               $1,030

190 (Skilled – Nominated)                           $4,115                $2,060                               $1,030

485 (Temporary Graduate)                          $1,680                $840                                  $425

489 (Skilled – Regional Provisional)           $4,115               $2,060                               $1,030

400 (Temporary Work (Short Stay)            $315                   $315                                  $80

491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) $4,115                $2,060                               $1,030

494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored              $4,115                $2,060                               $1,030

482 (Temporary Skill Shortage)                 $1,290                $1,290                               $325

482 (Temporary Skill Shortage)                  $2,690                $2,690                               $675


Department of Home Affairs Citizenship Application Fees – Increases 1 July 2021

Australian citizenship by conferral—General eligibility (Form 1300t):

Standard fee $490

Concession fee* $70


Please Note: The above listed is not the complete list of visa application fee increases. The Thames Migration team are here to support you and guide you through the application process as efficiently as possible, so if you have any questions about your application and ensuring lodgement by 30 June 2021, please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly with your Migration Agent.

The Federal Budget 2021-22

The federal budget was handed down by treasury on the 11 May 2021 for the 2021-2022 financial year with a focus on resuming migration and welcoming back international students to Australia.

Migration Planning Levels

The Australian Government will maintain the 2021-2022 Migration Program Planning level at 160,000 places.

Family and Skilled stream places will also be maintained at their 2020-2021 planning levels with the Department continuing their focus on onshore visa applicants and continuing to reduce the onshore Partner visa application pipeline.

Skilled Migration Visas will have approximately 50% of the allocated places with a priority focus on highly skilled migrants in the Employer SponsoredBusiness Innovation and Investor Program and Global Talent visa categories.

The Humanitarian Program will be maintained at 13,750 places for the 2021-2022 migration year.

The Australian government has confirmed that the size of the program (the places available) will remain as a ceiling of the amount of places available instead of a ‘target’.

Net Overseas Migration Numbers

The Budget noted that Net Overseas Migration (NOM) is predicted to fall from around 154,000 people in the 2019-2020 year to around -72,000 people by the end of 2020-2021, however it is expected to gradually increaase to around 201,000 people by 2023-2024.

Sponsored Temporary Parent Visas – Extension of validity period

The Department has confirmed that the validity period for Sponsored Parent (Temporary) (subclass 870) visas will be extended by 18 months for people who are unable to enter Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Global Talent Visas

The Australian government has commited $550 million to attract talent and business from overseas to Australia as part of the Global Talent visa program. As part of this commitment the ATO will provide fast-track tax advice to foreign investors and individual tax residency rules will be simplified to increase the attractiveness of Australia for highly skilled indiviudals and innovative businesses looking to come to Australia.

Temporary Visa Holders

Temporary visa holders in Australia looking to apply for the Temporary Work (subclass 408) ‘COVID-19’ visa will no longer need to demonstrate their attempts to depart Australia if they intend to undertake work in the agricultural sector.

The period in which a temporary visa holder can apply for the Temporary Work (subclass 408) ‘COVID-19’ visa has also been extended from 28 days prior to their visa expiry to 90 days prior to their visa expiry.

Student Visa Holders

As previously announced by Thames Migration, student visa holders will temporarily be permitted to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are working in the tourism or hospitality sectors.

More Information

If you would like further information on your migration options in Australia, what these announcements mean for you or any other matter please contact our office on 1300 799 877 or schedule a consultation with us online.


Festive Season Office Closure

From the entire Thames Migration team, we wish you all a merry festive season and a Happy New Year!

Further inbound travel exemptions announced

The Department’s COVID mini site has been updated today to allow additional categories of persons to be automatically exempt from travel restrictions and can enter Australia, without obtaining an individual exemption.

Those exempt from requiring individual exemptions are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident*
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members
  • a diplomat accredited to Australia (holding a subclass 995 visa)
  • a traveller transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
  • airline crew
  • maritime crew including marine pilots
  • recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa

Further information on the requirements for these exemptions are available on the Department’s site

COVID -19 – Subclass 408 stream announced

The purpose of the visa is to provide a pathway for certain former and current holders of temporary visas to lawfully remain in Australia and who would otherwise be required to depart Australia who, but for the COVID-19 pandemic, are unable to leave Australia.


  • Must hold a visa that is 28 days or less from ceasing to be in effect
  • Or, held a visa that is no more than 28 days from ceasing to be in effect
  • And, are unable to apply for the same temporary visa they hold or held or any other subclass of temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa

To learn more or apply contact us.

COVID-19 Update

We are writing to assure you that we, and the staff of Thames Migration, are doing our best to support you during these strange and unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The majority of our services are not affected, and it is our team’s intention to continue our high level of service to you.

We have been testing our systems in preparation for all staff to work remotely, which is occurring this week in our Australian and UK offices.

We are in regular contact with clients and other stakeholders as we implement new ways to deliver our services and we thank them for their understanding.

You may experience some delays in dealing with us, but we will do as much as we can to assist you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on info@thamesmigration.com if you have any concerns or questions.

Regular updates concerning both Australian and UK visa and immigration news will continue to be publish via our social media and website news.

We thank you for your support and we will be in touch as soon as we can provide more information.

From the entire Thames Migration team we wish you and your staff and families all the best during this difficult time.

David A G Knox & Hannibal Khoury