By Joy Hay – Registered Migration Agent MARN 1465325
More than 10,000 applications were refused in 2016-17.
A recent report by The Project shone a light on the struggle faced by the many Australian partner visa applicants who spend up to $7,000 on visa fees and face a wait of two years for a decision.
Figures from the Department of Home Affairs quoted on the show revealed that 10,372 partner visa applications were refused in the year 2016-17. More recent figures pertaining to the last financial year are expected soon.
What does this mean?
There are several reasons why a partner visa might be refused. Very often, people are in genuine relationships but struggle to prove this as they fail to show the required hard evidence required by the Department of Home Affairs.
Providing photographs and text massages is simply not enough to demonstrate that you’re in a de facto relationship; proof of shared financial commitments and in most cases, ongoing cohabitation, is crucial.
Reasons for partner visa refusals
Some of the most common reasons for refusal include:
- Lack of evidence
This is the number one reason. Failing to provide enough evidence with your application will result in a refusal. You must also supply the right kind of evidence; proof that your finances are shared, evidence that your relationship is recognised by family and friends, records of calls and texts, photographs, evidence of shared address etc. It’s also not enough to supply a few documents and then sit back and wait for two years, the application should be continually updated to show ongoing commitment. Bear in mind though – you can only attach a finite number of documents, so you need to know what you are doing.
- Bogus documentation
Faking evidence or falsifying documents such as divorce certificates and statements can result in you failing to meet Public Interest Criterion (Pic) 4020.
- Failing to respond to Case Officer requests
Failing to respond to a request for further information can result in a refusal, as can failure to attach requested documents like police clearance or health checks. Always respond promptly and thoroughly to Case Officer requests and check your junk folder in case their email happens to land there.
- Sponsored too many partners
An Australian citizen or resident can only sponsor two partners, unless there are compelling circumstance. There is also a time limitation. Five years must have passed between the application of the first partner visa and the decision on the second partner application.
- Failing to meet health and character requirements
Applicants with a substantial criminal history or extensive health problems may find their application is refused on these grounds.
- Poor interview
Don’t remember where you met your partner? Not sure of their birthday? Can’t name their siblings? Quite rightly, the Case Officer will question the genuineness of your relationship if this is the case. Failure to respond adequately if you’re given a phone interview will likely result in a refusal.
- Poorly documented applications
Once upon a time, Case Officers would always issue requests if they needed further information to assess your application. Occasionally they still do; however, it’s not always the case. Applicants should not take it for granted that they’ll be chased for documents. Case Officers are not required under Migration law to request any further evidence from you. They are within their rights to refuse your application – decide your fate – on the information at hand.
Seek professional advice
There are several other reasons for partner visa refusals, but the majority fall into one of the above categories.
Many people attempt to lodge partner visa applications without the assistance of a Registered Migration Agent, perhaps thinking that since there’s no employer sponsorship involved it should be relatively straightforward to submit. Many couples believe that the mere fact of being in a genuine relationship is enough to meet the requirements. It’s not. Immigration does not know you or your partner.
The issue with partner visas is that they’re incredibly expensive and have long processing times. You could be waiting two years only to learn that your application has been refused. In almost all cases your application fee will not be refunded and you’ll have to either appeal (at extra cost) or re-lodge and pay again.
Even if you’re confident in the strength of your application, it’s always advisable to consult a professional and have your options properly assessed. True Blue Migration Services offers free assessments and a no visa, no fee guarantee across all partner visa types.