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1053 Australian partner visas revoked since July 2010

February 15th, 2014


Since July 2010, more than 1000 spouse and partner visas have been revoked by the Australian government. This is due to such abuses of the immigration system as sham marriages and fake relationships discovered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as part of routine checks, including home visits. Although the largest problem was visa holders continuing to reside outside of Australia after attaining a migrant visa under the partnership policy (subclass 309/820), while their sponsoring partners remained in the country.

Although some immigration professionals and lawyers have stated their opinion that the Australian government has reacted with too much severity, it is the opinion of the government that the system has been abused, and a crackdown is necessary. Such fraudulent applications have heaped more pressure on the Australian partner visa system, which is already struggling to cope under a heavy workload. 47,500 migrants used the partner visa system in the last year alone, a figure which is 15,000 higher than 10 years ago. As of June 2013, more than 58,000 applications were still in the pipeline.

On the whole, marriage and partner visas are responsible for approximately 77% of family migration into Australia. One of the main reasons for this is that it is the only remaining “as-of-right” path to immigration. This means that applicants do not need to prove that they have sufficient English language ability, or vocational skills and qualifications.

Although there are a number of reasons given for cancelling the 1000+ Australian partner visas since July 2010, the main one was that the visa holder in question continued to live outside of Australia despite being granted a spouse or partner visa to live in the country. This was the reason behind 809 cancellations. Other reasons given for cancelling the visas included sham marriages and fake relationships, fraudulent or bogus documentation being used, the abuse of temporary visas, and finally, grounds related to the character of the applicant.

One of the most difficult facets of the visa application process facing Australian migration officials is determining whether or not the relationship is genuine and continuing. If Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) officials suspect that the relationship is not bona fide, or that there are grounds to believe that the application is fraudulent, additional investigations can take place, including home visits. Such inquiries can also lead to the cancellation of existing visas.