There are many different reasons why an application for a Partner Visa can be refused, however most Partner Visa refusals fall into a few specific categories.
In the 2017-2018 Migration year, more than 100,000 Partner visa applications were decided on. In that time, over 10,000 Partner Visa applications were refused by the Department of Home Affairs. Figures for the coming years are expected soon.
Why does this occur? There are a number of reasons why a partner visa application get denied. Applicants who have been refused for a partner visa does not necessarily mean they were not in a genuine relationship. Many applicants struggle to prove their relationship and provide the necessary evidences required by the criteria. Just showing some photographs and text messages doesn’t satisfy the requirement to show that you are in a ‘genuine and ongoing’ relationship.
Often times, proof of financial commitments and in a lot of cases, ongoing cohabitation are necessary. This does not mean you need to be in co-residence at the time of application, but rather you need to demonstrate that you generally would live in a co-residence situation. Also your current physical separation is a variation from the standard practice of living together.
Summit Migration has put something a list of some of the key reasons why Partner Visas are refused. Some of the common reasons for refusal include:
- A lack of evidence. Primarily, applicants fail to show sufficient evidence in their application and this will possibly result in a Partner Visa Refusal. It’s not sufficient to just provide a range of evidence but also to provide the correct types of evidence. You must demonstrate that your finances are shared, that your relationship is recognised by your social circle and your friends and family, you’ve had contact during times of separation, and that there have been periods of time where you’ve shared a household. You should not consider enough to simply supply several documents and then wait for a number of years. Your application should also be continually updated to show ongoing commitment. Keep in mind that you can only attach a fixed number of documents online via your email account so you need to know what you’re doing
- Bogus documentation. Faking evidence, falsifying documents or providing a document that you know is a bogus document such as a divorce certificate or statements that have incorrect information can result in you failing to meet the requirement in the visa. This requirement is Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020 which strictly requires you to not provide a bogus document to the Department in order for your visa to be granted and failing to respond to the case officer requests. If a case officer contacts you after you have lodged your Partner Visa Application and you failed to respond within the required time, it is high likely that your application will result in a refusal. Often times, a case officer can request documents such as a police clearance check or a medical examination. It is important that you pay attention to your email and respond promptly and precisely to case officer requests within a required time frame. If you move home, you should notify the department and lodge a form 929 to update your details in the department. You should also regularly check your junk folder in your email inbox in case your email happens to be caught by a junk mail filter.
- Sponsoring too many Partners. An Australian citizen or permanent resident can only sponsor 2 applicants within their lifetime. If you seek to sponsor a 3rd partner, you must show compelling or compassionate circumstances. There is also a time limitation. You cannot sponsor a partner within 5 years having sponsored a previous partner. If this is you, and you consider that you’re sponsoring your 3rd partner under the partner visa program, then you should seek immigration advice.
- Failing to meet health or character requirements. It is a requirement that you provide an Australian Federal Police clearance check. If you had a substantial criminal history, or a period of detention, or a deferred sentence or a suspended sentence, or alternatively you have extensive health problems, you are likely to find that the Department may consider refusal of your application.
- Poor performance at the Partner Visa interview. In many cases, the Department will request you and your partner to attend an interview to discuss your relationship. If you can’t answer important questions about your partner, such as their birth date, family members, or key dates in their life, the case officer may suspect that you do not have a genuine and ongoing relationship. Likewise, failure to be able to respond quickly and knowledgeably if you’re required to attend the phone interview will also likely result in a refusal. It used to be the Case Officers who would always issue requests if they sought further information will be necessary to assess the application. Frequently they do. However, this is not usually the case. Applicants should not take it for granted that their Case Officer will request them for outstanding documents. Under Immigration law, a case officer is not mandated to make a request for further information. It may be that your application is refused to outright based on the information provided.
There are different reasons why an application for a Partner Visa is refused but most Partner Visa refusals fall into the above category. A partner visa costs upwards of AUD7715. Consequentially, this is both a significant time and financial investment. Attempting to lodge a Partner Visa application without the assistance of a Registered Migration Agent may create an unnecessary liability for you and your partner.
Many couples believe that simply because their relationship is genuine, the Department will approve their application. You should consider that the case officer assessing your application is actively looking for a reason to refuse your application. If you’re not confident in the prospects of your application, we strongly suggest that you consult a professional and have your options properly assessed.