Can I Work in Australia As A Partner Or Spouse Visa Holder?
With all aspects of Australian immigration law, it is essential to remain well within the rules to avoid the risk of having your visa cancelled and being removed from the country. All countries apply immigration policy in different ways, hence you need to understand the conditions which apply to your visa. Unfortunately, it is all too common for visa holders to breach the conditions of their visa without realising they have done so. If you are planning to move to Australia to live with your partner or spouse, it is highly recommended that you review the rules which apply to your visa before you work, study, claim benefits, travel, or undertake any other significant actions. In this article, we will focus on whether those on Australian partner or spouse visas can work while they are in Australia, and if so, what the conditions are for doing so.
Can I Work If I Am In Australia On A Partner Visa?
Yes, if you are currently in Australia as a partner, whether on a fiancé, provisional or permanent visa, you have full rights to work. It is important to note, however, that this only applies while you are eligible for your visa. The eligibility criteria for a partner visa are as follows:
- you must both be 18 or over
- you must be the spouse or de facto partner of an:
- Australian citizen
- Australian permanent resident or
- eligible New Zealand citizen
Your relationship can be with someone of the same or different sex.
- if you are married to your partner, the following must apply:
- you and your spouse must both continue to be committed to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others
- your relationship with your spouse must continue to be genuine and continuing
- you must continue to live with your spouse or do not live apart on a permanent basis
- if you are in a de facto partnership (i.e. you are not married), the following must apply:
- you are not married to each other
- you are committed to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
- your relationship is genuine and continuing
- you live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis
- you are not related by family
- you must meet the health and character requirements
If any of these eligibility criteria no longer apply since you were granted your partner visa, your visa may no longer be valid. For example, if your relationship to your sponsor breaks down, you will no longer be eligible for a partner visa, and hence not be allowed to work. In this situation, you will need to apply for a new visa, and possibly a bridging visa if your current visa is curtailed or cancelled.
There are no restrictions on the type of work which can be carried out by a partner visa holder (assuming they apply for work suitable to their qualifications), and they can work full-time, or part-time. In addition, there are no restrictions which prohibit partner visa holders from changing employers.
What Else Can I Do On An Australian Partner Visa?
Australian partner visas offer a considerable amount of freedom and flexibility, including the ability to:
- stay in Australia until we decide their permanent partner visa is being processed
- work in Australia
- study in Australia
- travel to and from Australia without restrictions
- attend up to 510 hours of free English language classes provided by the Adult Migrant English Program
- enrol in Australia’s public health care scheme, Medicare
What Are The Prospects For Finding Employment In Australia?
With a growing and thriving economy which is dependant on migrants for skills and labour, Australia provides excellent employment prospects.
The unemployment rate in Australia is currently 6.9%, however, this has increased recently due to COVID-19 which is linked to the loss of around 30,000 jobs. According to recent statistics, Australians working full-time earned an average of AUD$1713.90 per week or AUD$89,122 annually. This compares to around £600 per week and £30,000 per year in the UK.
The skilled occupation list (SOL) outlines all of the professions for which there is the greatest demand and a lack of supply. This list is used by applicants for work visas, but it can provide a useful resource for determining where the greatest needs are in Australia. Depending on where you live in Australia, there is also the regional occupation list, which provides details of jobs for which there is a shortage of supply in regional areas of the country.
At present, the top 20 occupations with the greatest demand are as follows:
- Registered Nurses
- Secondary School Teachers
- Software and Applications Programmers
- Construction Managers
- Carpenters and Joiners
- Metal Fitters and Machinists
- Motor Mechanics
- University Lecturers and Tutors
- Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
- Management consultant
- General Practitioners and Resident Medical officers
- Other Specialist Managers
- Civil Engineering Professionals
- Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers
- Painting Trades Workers
- Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
- Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists
As a migrant in Australia on a partner visa, you will have considerable flexibility to work in any region, for any employer, and in any type of role for which you are qualified. It is important, however, that you remain within the terms of your visa at all times, and if you no longer meet the criteria for a partner visa, you should seek professional immigration advice. An immigration lawyer will be able to explain the full range of options available to you if you need to apply for another visa. Their priority will be to ensure that you and your family members continue to maintain your valid immigration status at all times. If necessary, they can handle the process of applying for a new visa and help you to gather the necessary evidence to support your case, and build the strongest application possible.