Yesterday, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection decided to give themselves a present for 2015 by announcing that they will be increasing partner and prospective marriage visa applications by a whopping 50% on 1 January 2015. The announcement can be found here.
For those that don't want to do the maths, the following is the increase in the base application charges come New Year’s Day:
- Offshore provisional and permanent partner (subclass 309/100) visas: from $3085 to $4627.50.
- Prospective marriage (subclass 300) visa: from $3085 to $4627.50.
- Onshore temporary and permanent partner (subclass 820/801) visas: from $4575 to $6865.50.
This does not include the cost of additional applicants (which will vary depending on how many there are) or the obligatory credit card surcharge fee.
To put things into a comparably embarrassing perspective, the cost of any K visa application (for spouses and fiancés of US citizens wishing to apply for a visa to the United States based on their relationship) is under AUD 300. This information was taken from the US Embassy website here.
The justification for the hike is “to fund whole-of-government policy priorities.” Your guess is as good as mine what the hell that shrift statement actually means. I would like to think that the government was not trying to make up for any budgetary shortfalls by gouging a consistently demanded for (and therefore inelastic) visa category such as partners of Australian citizens, but maybe that is just wishful thinking...