Partner Visas – When can the AAT help
Partner Visa applications can be complex, lengthy and may require volumes of evidence in order to convince the Department of the genuineness of a de facto or spousal relationship. There are numerous cases, where even though migration agents could “see the love” in the applicants’ eyes, the Department was not satisfied.
Depending on the circumstances of the particular case, as well as the evidence submitted in support of the application, when the Department of Immigration has refused a Visa, the AAT might be able to assist.
The common reasons why many partner visas seem to fail with the Department, include but are not limited to, the following:
- Limited Joint Financial Liabilities
- Limited Evidence of the Social Aspect of the Relationship
- Evidence Weakening the Strength of Commitment between the Parties
A good example is the case of 1421176 (Migration) AATA 3632 (16 November 2015), in which the AAT remitted the refusal of an offshore partner application. Even though the Department was not initially convinced Mr Schuh and Ms Sauerzapf were not ‘de facto’ partners for the purposes of the legislation.
The AAT, on appeal, concluded that even though the relationship did not meet the minimum requirement relating to joint financial aspects, consistent evidence was provided that it had never been in the practice of neither of the parties to combine finances with previous partners. The appeal was successful.
In other cases, however, the AAT agreed with the Department when the evidence was either contradictory or insufficient, even when other core requirements had been met.
Despite general belief, legal registration of the relationship as well as marriage certificates did not guarantee the grant of a partner visa. Recent cases such as Zaoud v Minister for Immigration & Anor (2015) FCCA 3138 (25 November 2015) are illustrative of how strictly the department assesses the legitimacy of the partnership.
In that particular case, the Department and the AAT, upon review, took into consideration the applicant’s long (and controversial) history of immigration issues. This included the applicant’s status as an unlawful resident for several years as well as various unsuccessful applications.
All in all, careful consideration of the relevant evidentiary factors that might affect your partner visa application is strongly recommended. Differences in your circumstances compared to previous cases, however, shouldn’t discourage you from going ahead with an appeal!