I've been trawling through the Fact Sheets on Oz Immi Website and have copied below some info which I thought might help in all of us being more informed (or more worried?? I hope not!!). Although capping doesn't really exist, I would imagine current waiting times are skewed in order to ensure the number of migrants entering Australia on a Partner Visa are in line with the projected number set for 2011. What do others think?
Partner visas are meant to be granted in line with current queuing guidelines. ie. in order of lodgement, or compelling reason for priority processing.
I remember reading (but can't find) that it does, unfortunately, state that the fact of having a child or being pregnant does not in itself represent a compelling reason for priority processing, as there may be other people with equally or more compelling reasons for priority processing. Pretty hard to swallow if you have a child and don't want them to be separated from their parent I know (I don't have kids but I know how i'd feel if I did). But I guess they do have to make some pretty icky hard decisions. The good thing is that if the current program processing times are extended in order to kick us over into the next program year, then we would be at the top of the queue. Anyway, if others know differently and/or I've got anything wrong please do let me know. Hope this helps just in terms of being better informed.
Information below directly copied from DIAC Fact Sheets.
The planning level for the 2010–11 Migration Program is set at 168 700 places for Skilled, Family and Special Eligibility Stream migrants. This maintains the government’s commitment to an immigration policy which seeks to balance social, economic, humanitarian and environmental objectives. The planning level for the family stream in 2010-11 is set at 54 550 visas, which represents 32.3 per cent of the total Migration Program.
Within each family visa category, visa applicants are generally considered in order of the date of lodgement. In relation to Partner and Child category visa applications, higher priority in processing may be considered in cases where there are compelling or compassionate circumstances. If such circumstances exist, applicants will need to advise the visa office where their application is being processed and provide evidence to support their claims. There is no guarantee that your application will be prioritised. Other applicants may have equally or more compelling and compassionate circumstances and there is a limited number of visas that can be granted in the program year.
Cap and queue
The Migration Act 1958 (the Act), allows the Minister to ‘cap’ or limit the number of visas which can be granted each year in a particular visa subclass.
This limit, or cap, applies only for the migration program year in which it is introduced. When a cap is reached, applicants then wait in a queue for visa grant consideration in a following year, subject to places becoming available.
This means that when the number of visas set by the Minister for a visa class for the migration program year has been reached, no further visas can be granted in that program year.
Partner category visas:
None of the above are currently capped.
- Partner (subclasses 309/100 and 820/801) visas cannot be capped.
- Prospective Marriage (fiancé) (subclass 300) visas may be subject to capping.