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What Employers Should Know About Partner Visa Holders

Navigating the Australian visa system can be a complex journey, especially when it comes to understanding the various temporary working visas. Learn about Subclass 820 and 309 visas, the advantages for businesses, and compliance steps with immigration laws. 

Partner visas serve as a lifeline for the de facto partners and spouses of Australian citizens or permanent residents, allowing them to live and work in Australia while they await the outcome of their permanent residency applications. Temporary partner visas not only provide a pathway to permanent residency but also offer significant advantages for both the visa holders and their employers. By familiarising yourself with the visa subclasses, you can better navigate the hiring process and ensure compliance with immigration laws.

What are the types of Partner Visas?

Subclass 820 (Temporary)

The Subclass 820 visa is designed for the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. This visa allows the holder to live and work in Australia temporarily while their permanent visa application (Subclass 801) is being processed. Importantly, the visa holder must be in Australia when they apply. Holders of the Subclass 820 visa enjoy full work rights, providing them the opportunity to integrate into the workforce immediately. This visa remains valid until a decision is made on their Subclass 801 (Permanent) visa application.

Subclass 309 (Provisional)

Similar in function to the Subclass 820, the Subclass 309 visa is for partners or spouses who apply from outside Australia. This provisional visa permits them to live and work in Australia temporarily while their permanent visa application (Subclass 100) is under review. Like the Subclass 820 visa, holders of the Subclass 309 visa have unrestricted work rights and can contribute to the Australian economy. This visa remains valid until a decision is made on the Subclass 100 (Permanent) visa application.

What are the benefits for employers?

Both Subclass 820 and 309 visa holders are entitled to work unrestricted, allowing them to participate fully in the workforce without needing additional work permits. 

Employers can reap the benefits of diversity, with mixed viewpoints fostering creativity and innovation. A workplace that respects and celebrates diversity can boost morale, leading to higher job satisfaction and increased productivity. A strong reputation for diversity can also improve customer perceptions and loyalty, as consumers increasingly prefer to support businesses that reflect their own values.

Partner visas are pathways to permanent residency, and can lead to long-term employment stability and reduced turnover as visa holders transition to permanent residents with continued work rights. By employing Subclass 820 and 309 visa holders, employers can enjoy the benefits of diversity while reducing the risk of high turnover associated with other temporary working visas.

What steps should I take to remain compliant with right to work legislation?

To ensure compliance with Migration Law, employers should verify the work rights of their employees using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system, or an automated software solution. CheckWorkRights is directly linked to the Department of Home Affairs, allowing employers to onboard employees and check their visa conditions efficiently.

Make a plan to regularly re-verify employees’ visa statuses. Schedule regular VEVO checks for all employees on visas to ensure continued work rights. Ensure you are following best practice for right to work compliance, including getting consent to run a VEVO check, and safely managing data privacy.

What happens if the visa holder’s relationship breaks down?

If the visa holder’s relationship with their sponsor ends, they are required to notify the Department of Home Affairs with an update. Depending on the situation, they may still be eligible to stay in Australia.

It’s crucial to stay updated on any visa conditions that may affect the employee’s work rights. Regular communication with the visa holder about their status can help prevent any compliance issues.

For the latest updates and detailed information, refer to the Department of Home Affairs​ (Home Affairs – Immigration)​. To learn more about improving your documentation process for visa holders, book a demo with CheckWorkRights today.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is general only, and not to be taken as Migration Advice. Please be aware that visas and regulations are subject to frequent change. It is advisable to verify the latest information from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and or seek specific advice relating to your circumstances from a MARA Registered Migration Agent.