Partner Visas:
The Real Wait Time


Wait times on partner visas vary greatly depending on which processing office you are assigned to, and this is largely based on your location. This site aims to demystify the processing times given on the Department of Home Affairs (Australia) website, as they only list global average of processing times. This will be achieved through regular FOI Requests (Freedom of Information) to the department, until they decide to make this information readily accessible.

“Applications are generally processed in the order in which they are received”

- Department of Home Affairs

Subclass 309 Average Processing Times (Months)

Data showing the increase and inequity of wait-times for subclass 300/309/820 Visas


This site current relies on data from The Department of Home Affairs Annual Reports, as well as FOI Request: FA 21/04/00110, disclosed 28th April 2021. (Disclosure documents. You can view all other relevant files here: Historic Average Times)


This site aims to show that the claim from the department that “delays to visa processing due to COVID-19” are misleading, as well that visas are not processed in the order they are received, due to the way the system is managed. Visa wait times have been steadily increasing since the current government came to power in 2013. The submission will show that there is a regional bias toward certain countries in wait-times. Finally, the allocation for visa processing was cut by approximately -34.3% (adjusted for inflation) following the election of the current government and has not been increased since. In the financial year 2019-20 only 19% of the $2.157 billion visa fees collected, was actually used processing visas (source).

Results and Discussion

Processing Times

Wait times have been steadily on the rise, even before the pandemic. The government has used the pandemic as a cover for their mismanagement of the visa system as will be shown in the charts below.

We’ve seen an increase on family visas well before the pandemic struck, below is the increase from 2013 – 2019: after the government came to power, and before the pandemic.

Inequity of wait-times

It is claimed by the Department of Home Affairs that visas are processed in the order they are received, and only lists the global average wait times on their sites. However, this is misleading as wait-times are vastly different for offshore visa types (300 and 309).

The following charts will demonstrate that you are disadvantaged if you are applying certain regions.

More charts, and relevant files from years other than 2013/2019, can be found here: Historic Average Times

As can be seen, you are advantaged if you are coming from certain regions.

Visa and Citizenship Funding

Data from: Department of Home Affairs Annual Reports 2011-2020

This shows the expenses for Visa and Citizenship processing from 2010 to 2020, as adjusted for AUD 2020. When the current government came to power, it decreased funding by approximately -34.3%, as an average of the figures from the financial years 2010-14 and 2015-2020.

Visa Fees

In the financial year 2019-20 only 19% of the $2.157 billion visa fees collected, was actually used processing visas. (Department of Home Affairs Annual Report 2019-20).

Conclusion and Recommendations

  1. It is my view that the majority of subclass 300 and 309 visa processing should be handled in Australia. This will:

  • Stimulate the Australian economy by keeping public service jobs in Australia

  • Ensure that family visas are processed in the order they are received and not be influenced by where the applicant is applying from

This should be possible as 300/309/820 visas are applied for entirely online. Only needing local processing for things such as health checks and biometrics, which already have local arrangements in place not depending on the processing office.

  1. Funding should be returned to pre-2013 levels (adjusted for inflation) for visa and citizenship processing.

  2. Visa fees should be decreased so that expenses are more closely matched to fees