In Part 1 of this series, we covered relationships under 12 months, unusual living arrangements and bridging visas.
In this part, we’ll look at:
– Medicare for partner visa applicants
– How you can avoid a visa refusal
– How you can prepare a comprehensive relationship statement
– What to do if your relationship breaks down
Did you know you are entitled to Medicare cover from the day your partner visa is lodged? And this doesn’t just apply to people from countries with reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia; it applies to all partner visa applicants.
As the processing time can take 18-24 months, this can save you a lot of money, especially if you’re planning a family or require regular appointments.
You’ll even be entitled to Medicare if you lodged your visa offshore and come to Australia for a visit during processing.
We recently had a client who lodged a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300) and came to Australia on a tourist visa to visit her partner. She was expecting a baby at the time and ended up extending her tourist visa and giving birth in Australia. This was fully covered by Australia’s Medicare program.
How you can avoid a visa refusal
Did you know Department of Home Affairs are big snoops? Of course they are; it’s their job to uphold the integrity of Australia’s immigration system and ensure that visa applicants are genuine.
Sometimes, people who are really in a genuine relationship can look as though they aren’t. This causes unnecessary problems and stress.
We’ve seen everything, believe us, including one client who changed their Facebook status to ‘single’ after an argument!
Immigration will look at your social media accounts to check whether you’re in a genuine relationship, so make sure your profiles accurately reflect your current situation. If you haven’t updated it for years, and it still says you’re single and ready to mingle, when in fact you’re happily engaged, then you might want to consider updating it.
Your Case Officer will scrutinise your bank account statements: joint and individual.
Some people attempt to trick Immigration by setting up a joint account where money can be deposited for rent and utilities; however, their individual accounts might tell a completely different story. If your Case Officer asks for copies of individual bank account statements and one person has regular transactions in Melbourne, whilst the other is using a card in Sydney, questions will be raised.
There’s no need to worry if you or your partner regularly travel for work and that’s the reason for the periods of separation, but you do need to mention it in your relationship statement. Don’t skip over it – your Case Officer certainly won’t.
What happens if your relationship breaks down during the processing of your 820/801?
Unfortunately relationships do break down during visa processing. It can take up to two years to get a decision on your visa application, and that’s a long time. Things happen. As well as relationship breakdowns, some people sadly lose their partners in tragic circumstances.
What you may not realise is that under the following circumstances, your visa might still be considered for approval:
1. Your sponsoring partner has died; or
2. You, or a member of your or your partner’s family unit has suffered family
violence committed by your sponsor; or
3. You and your sponsor share custody, access or maintenance
obligations in respect of a child
You will need to present the evidence and a make a strong case to be considered under the second and third points.
Immigration rarely interviews couples. It does happen, and you should be prepared for an interview just in case, but it doesn’t often.
However, one thing that everyone needs to provide is a very detailed relationship statement which outlines the nature of your household and includes a timeline of your relationship.
In a nutshell: you’re telling your love story to your Case Officer. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be J.K. Rowling, you just need to be detailed and honest.
If you are together, you can write it together. It can be a typed and signed statement or it can be in a statutory declaration format. The statement will need to include key information, such as:
– How you first met
– How your relationship developed
– The dates you officially became a couple and moved in together
You’ll need to address these key areas which Immigration will assess your case against:
– How do you share the costs of the relationship?
– Do you both work?
– Do you have a joint account or do you individual accounts?
– Do you have joint financial commitments like a mortgage, loan or credit card?
– Does one person pay the rent and the other pays the bills?
There is no right or wrong answers – this is your opportunity to explain to Immigration how everything works in your individual household.
Nature of household
You will need to declare the address or addresses you have lived at, and explain your usual daily routine.
– Who cooks?
– Who does the grocery shopping?
– Who is responsible for the cleaning?
– Do you clean together or do you pay for a cleaner?
– Who looks after your garden and cuts the grass or do you outsource this?
– Who pays the bills?
Again, everyone’s routine is different. Just be as detailed as you can.
Social aspects of the relationship
You will need to provide details of what you like to do together as a couple and how you socialise with friends and family.
– Do you like to stay home and game or are you out and about at any opportunity?
– Do you play sport together or are you a member of the local gym?
– Do you host dinner parties and BBQs for your friends and loved ones?
– Do you like fancy hotels or going camping?
– Are you known to your family and friends as a couple?
– What significant events have attended?
– Have you jointly attended any weddings, parties, parties, engagements or baby showers?
– Do you like to go to festivals or do you prefer to Netflix and chill?
Commitment to each other
– When and how did you decide to spend your live together?
– Have you spent any time apart? If so, how did you manage? How did you maintain contact?
– How do you support each other emotionally?
– How does the applicant feel being apart from their family and friends and home country?
– Have you experienced a significant event together, such as an illness, change in career, death, or financial hardship?
Development of relationship
You need to focus on the future here, as well as the past.
– What are your future plan as a couple?
– Do you plan on having children?
– Do you want to buy a Home?
– Do you want to do more travelling?
– Have you talked about your plans for the future?
– Where you would like to retire?
The relationship statement takes time to prepare. It’s definitely not something to leave until the last minute and race through the night before your visa lodgement.
We hope you found this information helpful. We’ll be back with Part 3 soon.
Until then, if you’d like to speak with a Registered Migration Agent about your partner visa options, feel free to contact us for a free assessment.