Partner visas, also dubbed the ‘love tax’ are costly. Application fees start from approximately $7,000 in addition to other applicable fees such as professional fees and costs pertaining to health and police checks. As the figures show, the high cost does not seem to be a deterrent for those looking to bring their loved ones to Australia.
As with any visa, there are a myriad of tests and paperwork to be completed. While it is important that proper relationship screenings take place to determine the legitimacy of the relationship, how strict should visa laws be when it comes to applicants having to update their relationship status?
Currently, if you have a partner visa application in progress, it is expected you immediately advise the government of changes in your relationship. Failure to do so could result in a visa cancellation or refusal. But how do you determine the end of a relationship? This can be somewhat of a grey area.
Couples fight all the time and while an argument can be serious, it does not necessarily mean the end of a relationship. may just take some time to sort through the issues generally a relationship still exists. If a couple has just had a potentially relationship ending argument, when to contact the Department of Home Affairs to amend a partner visa application is not a priority and unclear. Whether the government agrees with this or not is another thing.
Or, you and your partner may have children and, may take longer to resolve your relationship issues. Whilst the relationship may not be the ‘stereotypical’ relationship government would like, it is still genuine. So should there be some sort of grace period to allow couples to rebuild and have ordinary relationships where a person is not penalised for not immediately contacting the visa office to amend their relationship status?
Those who are in genuine relationships have genuine relationship problems. They should not be confused with those who are portraying fake relationships.
It has been argued that the system surrounding partner visas is open to abuse. This abuse can come from the Australia sponsor or the foreign applicant. Sometimes, it’s the applicant who is only pretending to love an Australian citizen in an effort to escape their country or remain in Australia. Sometimes it is abuse from the Australian partner who threatens to inform the government that the relationship has ended if their partner does not agree to certain things. Perhaps in cases such as these, there should be greater investigation into the legitimacy of the relationship both before and after the visa is granted.
Visa laws need to be strict yet fair. It is important that questionable relationships undergo the required scrutiny but those who are in real relationships should be given the opportunity to work through their relationship issues without fear of visa cancellation or refusal purely because the government was not apprised of any and all issues a couple is having.
If you need any expert advice on Partner visas or any aspects of migration, speak to one of the VSA team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.