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Partner visa cancellation

Guide to responding to a partner visa cancellation

Australian partner visas are a means for Australians to sponsor their spouse or de facto partner to come and build life together in Australia. They provide a pathway for shared experiences, endeavours and a future intertwined in this diverse nation.

However, in the journey of maintaining a partner visa, there are potential roadblocks. Cancellations can occur due to various grounds, encompassing non-compliance with visa conditions, failure to meet character requirements, or providing false information during the application process. 

Notably, a significant cause for partner visa cancellation can stem from a breakdown in the relationship, a central requirement for this visa category. Nevertheless, it is not an absolute outcome. There exist exceptions and circumstances that could potentially shield a partner visa from being cancelled. 

Acknowledging your concerns, this guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks that should be considered on your journey towards securing permanent residency through partner visas.

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Reasons for a partner visa cancellation

There are three main grounds for a partner visa cancellation:

The visa conditions are essentially the rules and obligations set by the Australian government that must be followed during the visa’s validity. Therefore, any violation of the conditions specified in the visa grant could potentially lead to the cancellation.

For instance, if you have been granted a Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa, you must marry your sponsor while your visa is valid (condition 8519/8520). 

Or if you are holding a temporary partner visa (subclass 820 or 309), you must maintain your ongoing and genuine relationship with your sponsor. Although this condition may not appear on your visa grant letter, according to Section 116(1)(a) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) the Minister still has power to cancel your visa as your circumstance for a partner visa no longer exists. However, even if your relationship ends, your visa will not be cancelled in the cases where you suffered domestic and family violence, or you have a child with your sponsor, or your partner dies.

Your partner visa may be cancelled if the Department has concerns about your character. If you have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for longer than a year, certainly, your visa will be cancelled.

Before cancelling your visa, the Department will give you 28 days to request revocation of the cancellation. Revocation of the cancellation decision would have the effect of restoring your visa.

Please be mindful that even if you become an Australian permanent resident, permanent residency is still a visa type which allows you to stay indefinitely in Australia. Therefore, your permanent visa can still be cancelled if you no longer meet character requirements.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs prioritizes honesty and accuracy in the application process to maintain system integrity. If such deception is discovered, consequences may include immediate visa cancellation, a ban on reapplying for a specified period, and potential legal actions. Additionally, even after being granted a permanent partner visa, it's important to note that if the Department later discovers misleading or fraudulent information in the application, the permanent visa can still be subject to cancellation. To avoid these, it's crucial to provide truthful and accurate information during the application process.

Consequences of a partner visa cancellation

Partner visa cancellation in Australia can result in immediate loss of legal status and becoming unlawful non-citizen, potential deportation, and a ban on re-entry. It can negatively affect future visa applications, disrupt personal and professional life, lead to financial strain, and cause emotional distress.

Visa cancellation process

Navigating the complexities of visa cancellations can be daunting. This section provides an overview of the process, all the way through to the filing of submissions and the determination of your application. We emphasise the importance of representation throughout the process to ensure your interests are protected. Our experienced team offers dedicated support, ensuring that every client is well-informed and prepared for every stage of their visa journey. Our process includes the following steps:

1. Consultation and engagement

2. Preparation and support

3. Submission and communication

4. Representation and outcome

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What should you do if your partner visa is cancelled?

If your Australian partner visa is revoked, it is essential to initially comprehend the grounds for the cancellation. Acquire comprehensive details from the authorities regarding the rationale, as this information will enable you to make well-informed decisions about your subsequent actions. It is highly recommended to seek guidance from a registered migration agent or an immigration lawyer. They can offer expert advice, elucidate your rights, and assist you in determining whether you have grounds to challenge the cancellation.

It's crucial to be aware that you may have the option to contest their decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a merits review or pursue judicial review through the court system. These channels can serve as avenues to dispute the visa cancellation and have your case reevaluated. If opting for an appeal, ensure that you adhere to the stipulated time limits and submit any requisite supporting documentation or evidence to strengthen your case.

How to avoid a partner visa cancellation

To avoid partner visa cancellation, you should:

  • Understand and comply with all visa conditions
  • Maintain a genuine relationship
  • Provide truthful and accurate information
  • Notify the Department of any changes
  • Obey Australian law and regulations
  • Consult with immigration professionals whenever you are unsure about your visa status

Benefits of using an immigration lawyer

It is highly advantageous to seek legal advice from an immigration lawyer when facing partner visa cancellation as they are experts in this area. Australian Migration Lawyers, boasting a team of seasoned and highly trained legal professionals.

  • Lawyers can provide appropriate assistance tailored to your unique situation
  • Suggest alternative visa options
  • Our skilled professionals can assist in the appeal process, presenting a strong case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or pursuing a judicial review
  • Their expertise ensures that all necessary legal requirements are met and that your case is effectively advocated, maximising the chances of a successful appeal

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Frequently asked questions

Read our most frequently asked questions abour partner visa cancellations in Australia

Can a permanent partner visa be cancelled if the relationship breaks down?

Generally, a permanent partner visa is not cancelled solely due to a relationship breakdown. However, if misleading or fraudulent information was provided during the visa application process, it could lead to the cancellation of permanent residency.

Are there any exceptions to partner visa cancellation if the relationship ends?

Yes, there are exceptions for temporary partner visa holders where the relationship ends. If the visa holder has experienced domestic violence or the sponsoring partner has passed away, it's possible to have the visa outcome reconsidered without automatic cancellation. You can read more about domestic violence partner visa here.

What steps can be taken to prevent partner visa cancellation due to non-compliance with visa conditions?

To prevent partner visa cancellation due to non-compliance, ensure strict adherence to all visa conditions, including maintaining a genuine and continuing relationship and promptly informing the Department of Home Affairs of any changes in circumstances. Compliance is essential for a valid and uninterrupted partner visa status.

About the content author

Perry Q Wood
Partner - Principal Migration Lawyer

Perry Q Wood is National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law and one of Australia’s leading administrative and migration lawyers. To date, he has been involved in 1,000+ migration and refugee matters.

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