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Partner Visa Refusals in Australia

A comprehensive guide to Partner visa refusals

Partner visas serve as crucial avenues for achieving permanent residency in Australia, especially for individuals in a de facto relationship or marriage with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. These visas represent a commitment by the Australian government to unite families and support personal relationships. However, navigating the application process can be complex, and understanding the nuances is essential for success.

Given the complexity and high stakes of this process, seeking professional guidance becomes invaluable. Experienced migration lawyers, such as the team at Australian Migration Lawyers, play a pivotal role in this journey. Our lawyers bring a wealth of experience in dealing with the intricacies of immigration law and are adept at navigating the often challenging pathways of partner visa applications. The guidance we provide is not just about ensuring compliance with legal requirements but also about strategising the application to highlight the strengths of your case and mitigate any potential issues that could lead to a refusal.

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Reasons for a Partner visa refusal

A Partner visa may be refused on grounds of:

  • Failing to demonstrate a genuine and continuing relationship i.e. providing false or misleading information  
  • Insufficient relationship evidence 
  • Failing to meet the public interest criteria 
  • Failing to meet the character test i.e. having a substantial criminal record
  • Failing to meet the health requirements

How to address a Partner visa refusal

Partner visa refusals are complex, making professional legal guidance essential. Australian Migration Lawyers offers experience in understanding the specific reasons for your refusal and taking appropriate actions. The response to a refusal varies based on individual circumstances, the refusal reasons, and the visa type.

Appeals can be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for an independent review. In certain cases, further appeals to the Federal Circuit Court are possible, but are confined to legal questions. Time is of the essence in these appeals, underscoring the importance of prompt action following a refusal.

How to avoid a Partner visa refusal

Applying for a Partner visa in Australia requires careful attention to detail. Given the time and effort involved, it is crucial to take all necessary steps to minimise the chances of a refusal. Here are some key strategies to help ensure your Partner visa application is successful:

  • Before applying, make sure you fully understand all the eligibility criteria for the Partner visa. Ensure both partners meet character and health standards, such as police checks and medical examinations.
  • Gather and submit all relevant documents that provide evidence of your relationship. Provide clear evidence of the relationship's genuine and continuing nature, as this is a common area where applications fall short.
  • Fill out the Partner visa application form meticulously, ensuring all information is up-to-date and complete. Inaccuracies or omissions can lead to delays or a refusal.
  • Submit your application well in advance of any deadlines or expiry dates related to your current visa status, if applicable.
  • Consider consulting with a migration lawyer or a registered migration agent. Professionals like Australian Migration Lawyers can provide valuable insights, help in preparing a robust application, and advise on any potential red flags in your case.

Consequences of a Partner visa refusal

A refusal of a Partner visa application by the Australian immigration authorities can have several immediate and long-term consequences, both for those within Australia and for those applying from overseas. It's important to be aware of these potential repercussions:

  • Immediate inability to enter or stay in Australia
  • Impact on future visa applications
  • Legal and personal implications

It's important to remember that a Partner visa refusal is not always the end of the road. You may have the option to appeal the decision with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) if you believe the refusal was unfounded.Alternatively, reapplying for the visa with a more robust application that addresses the reasons for the initial refusal is another pathway. This may include providing additional evidence or clarifying any misunderstandings.

Given the complexities and the significant stakes involved, seeking advice from migration professionals like Australian Migration Lawyers can be crucial. They can assist in understanding the refusal, exploring your options for appeal or reapplication, and guiding you through the subsequent steps. 

Outcomes of a Partner visa refusal

In the event of a successful visa appeal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the Department is likely to grant the applicant's visa. Conversely, if an appeal at the AAT is unsuccessful, the possibility of appealing the decision in the Federal Court exists under limited circumstances and subject to specific criteria. 

In cases where pursuing a Federal Court appeal is not a viable option, visa applicants must make arrangements to leave Australia if they are currently within the country or refrain from entering if they are outside Australia.

Benefits of using an immigration lawyer

The team at Australian Migration Lawyers are able to assist with all types of visas especially in relation to Partner visa applications to which we have had a high success rate in. We possess substantial experience in handling even the most intricate cases involving visa refusals and our primary objective is to facilitate access to justice, a commitment we uphold by aiding individuals who entrust us with their visa refusal matters.

  • Our team consists of Australian lawyers who possess a profound understanding of Australian law allowing us to provide comprehensive support throughout the appeal process.
  • We also offer guidance on a wide range of migration options and strategies available to you
  • As legal professionals, we bear the responsibility of ensuring that your application fully aligns with all requirements, thereby naturally enhancing the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  • We are here to assist you in preparing your application from inception to completion, including working closely with you to address any additional requests made by the Tribunal or Court.

Partner visa refusal costs

Our professional fees will vary depending on the circumstances of your application. Some applications will be more complex than others and our fees will be quoted accordingly. We work on a fixed-fee basis rather than billing hourly to provide our clients with certainty about the total costs associated with their appeal. We offer payment plans based on different financial needs to provide flexibility for our clients. 

Fees in relation to Tribunal and Court appeals depend on the options available for a visa refusal in your particular circumstances.

Visa refusal process

Navigating a visa refusal can be complex. With help from an Australian Migration Lawyer, we can untangle this complexity, and help you with the next steps.

1. Consultation and engagement

2. Preparation and support

3. Submission and communication

4. Representation and outcome

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Meet your Australian Migration Lawyer

We’re a diverse team of professionals with decades of combined experience. We care about your situation and will make sure you always get the support and advice you need.

Australia-wide services

We offer professional migration advice and support, no matter where you are based. Those located in Australia have the choice of meeting with us at one of our offices or online, and for those offshore, we are available to you online.

Frequently asked questions

As part of our commitment to providing clear and helpful information to our clients, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding partner visa applications and refusals:

What are the most common reasons for a partner visa refusal?

Partner visa applications may be refused due to reasons such as insufficient evidence of a genuine and ongoing relationship, failure to meet health or character requirements, or discrepancies in the application. It's crucial to provide comprehensive and accurate documentation to support your relationship claim.

Can I stay in Australia if my partner visa is refused?

If you are in Australia when your partner visa is refused, your right to stay depends on the conditions of your current visa. In some cases, you may need to leave the country or apply for a different type of visa. Legal advice should be sought immediately to understand your options.

How can I appeal a partner visa refusal?

An appeal against a partner visa refusal can be lodged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The appeal must be filed within a strict timeframe, usually 21 days from the date of the refusal notice. The AAT will reassess your case independently of the original decision.

Is it possible to reapply for a partner visa after a refusal?

Yes, you can reapply for a partner visa after a refusal. However, it is important to address the reasons for the initial refusal in your new application. Consider seeking professional advice to improve the chances of a successful application.

How long does the partner visa application process take?

The processing time for a partner visa can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the case, the completeness of the application, and the caseload of the immigration department. Typically, it can range from several months to a couple of years.

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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