461 visa eligibility
If you hold a NZ 444 visa and you are in a relationship with an overseas national, you may be able to sponsor them on a Subclass 461 New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa.
461 visa – partner eligibility
To be eligible for a 461 visa, you would either need to have evidence of living together for at least six months or be married before you lodge the visa. You must demonstrate to Immigration that you are in a committed and ongoing relationship. As well as showing evidence of living together, you’ll need to demonstrate how you share your finances, how you depend on one another and how you two are recognised by family and friends as a genuine couple. Unlike other partner visas, registration of your relationship in a state or territory of Australia does NOT waives the requirement of six months of living together.
Your partner would need to hold a visa that allows them to lodge another visa onshore, that is, a visa that does NOT have an 8503 NO FURTHER STAY condition.
Your partner would need to meet health and character requirements and have no outstanding Australian Government debts.
461 visa – family members
As a 444 visa holder, you can also sponsor eligible members of your family unit on 461 visas. This includes children aged 18 and over, provided the children are single and have not been in a de facto relationship. You can also sponsor your partner’s dependent children.
461 visa – bridging visas
Once the 461 visa is lodged, your partner will be issued with an associated bridging visa. It is crucial to understand that their bridging visa only comes into effect at the end of their current visa. For example, if your partner holds an employer sponsored 482 visa that expires in 2023, they must remain on this visa whilst their 461 visa is processing. They cannot transition onto their bridging visa. The conditions of their bridging visa will vary depending on the visa held at the time of lodgement. They may or may not get work rights or may have restrictions as to which employer they can work for, and for how long.
461 visa – temporary residency
The 461 is a temporary visa that allows your partner to remain in Australia for five years. It can be applied for again in the future, but it does not provide a pathway to PR. If you are eligible for PR through the Skilled Independent visa 189 (NZ Stream) you can include your partner in this application, and you will both obtain PR if the NZ 189 visa is granted. You can register the relationship in this circumstance waiving the requirement to show 12 months evidence of living together (if required).
Could you be an Australian permanent resident?
Even if you hold a 444 visa, you may be an Australian permanent resident without knowing it! If you were in Australia on 26 February 2001 (or lived there for at least 12 months before), you are very likely to be an ‘eligible New Zealander’. This means that you hold Australian permanent residency. In this case, you may be able to sponsor your partner on a Partner Visa (Subclass 820 and 801) visa. You would not be able to sponsor them on a 461 visa in this case. If you are unsure of when you were in Australia, you would need to request overseas travel records from Immigration to confirm your visa status, as you may appear as a temporary resident on VEVO.
461 visa – work and study rights
The 461 visa provides full work and study rights. However, your partner is not entitled to fee support.
461 visa – relationship breakdown
If your relationship breaks down, your partner can apply for a further five year 461 provided they are not in a new relationship. If they decide to apply for a new 461 visa, they must continue to meet health and character requirements and show that they have maintained residency in Australia (two out of the last five years). There is no limitation on you sponsoring a new partner on a 461 visa.
Disclaimer: The information displayed on these pages is intended to provide a general overview of some Australian visa types. It is not a substitute for tailored, professional advice relating to your own personal circumstances. There are dozens of Australian visa subclasses; we refer to only a narrow selection here. Migration policies and regulations change frequently. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions relating to the generic information supplied here. You should always seek up-to-date advice from a Registered Migration Agent or refer to the Department of Home Affairs website prior to lodging an application.