I tell all of my clients that when they write about their relationship history that once it is submitted their case officer will in the very least ask
- Is it genuine?
- Does it satisfy the legislative criteria under regulation 1.15A to the Migration Regulations 1994?
Sorry about that last one, sounds complicated. I’m also sorry about the first one – how can you prove someone is being genuine?? For this blog, I will tell you about the regulation 1.15A. It includes:
(1) For subsection 5F(3) of the Act, [I am deleting a big chunk of legislation here that basically means ‘For a Partner Visa’] the Minister must consider all of the circumstances of the relationship, including the matters set out in subregulation (3).
(3) The matters for subregulation (2) are:
(a) the financial aspects of the relationship, including:
(i) any joint ownership of real estate or other major assets; and
(ii) any joint liabilities; and
(iii) the extent of any pooling of financial resources, especially in relation to major financial commitments; and
(iv) whether one person in the relationship owes any legal obligation in respect of the other; and
(v) the basis of any sharing of day-to-day household expenses; and
(b) the nature of the household, including:
(i) any joint responsibility for the care and support of children; and
(ii) the living arrangements of the persons; and
(iii) any sharing of the responsibility for housework; and
(c) the social aspects of the relationship, including:
(i) whether the persons represent themselves to other people as being married to each other; and
(ii) the opinion of the persons’ friends and acquaintances about the nature of the relationship; and
(iii) any basis on which the persons plan and undertake joint social activities; and
(d) the nature of the persons’ commitment to each other, including:
(i) the duration of the relationship; and
(ii) the length of time during which the persons have lived together; and
(iii) the degree of companionship and emotional support that the persons draw from each other; and
(iv) whether the persons see the relationship as a long-term one.
This is read more easily if we break it down into the following subjects 1) finances, 2) the nature of the household, 3) the social aspects of the relationship and 4) the nature of your commitment to each other. You need to write in a statutory declaration about all of these aspects of your relationship covering all points for each subject. I advise anything from 1 ½ to half a dozen pages. The average is four pages typed. For example if we take the first subject: finances.
“Susan and I are waiting on the outcome of the visa application before deciding whether or not we will buy a house. If the visa is granted Susan will arrive as soon as possible and I will start making enquiries for home loans. We were travelling the last year so didn’t have any regular income, Susan and I worked as we travelled staying in back packers, or taking out short term leases. We took turns paying and I have provided the receipts.”
This type of statement can lead to your visa being refused with no refund for a nearly $7000 application fee to DIBP. In the example above the person has tried to take into account all points (i) joint ownership, 2)joint liabilities, 3)financial pooling, 4) legal obligations and 5) household expenses but they haven’t been able to accumulate any of that type of financial history because they were travelling. It is a valid reason, but the visa would be refused. The case officer is directed under their own policy to refuse visas where they are not satisfied that the r.1.15A legislation has been met.
I see these types of cases all the time, especially for couples where one person is in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. I know that many of these people are told that they cannot apply for a visa in such as situation. But – with some careful attention, making up for the weaknesses in the application, referring to similar situations in case law I know that I know I can end up with a grantable visa application. Working with you I will need to draw out as much as I can about your situation and future plans to convey the full story to the your case officer. Then I need align your information up with all the relevant legislation including the one I pasted above (1.15A).
I have to paint a picture of you and your loved one that the case officer can hold up to all DIBP regulation and policy and come up with a positive answer. I believe that most case officers have many times actually wanted to grant visas that they have had no choice but to refuse because the relationship history might miss one of the r1.15A criteria. If you are in a situation that you can provide evidence of everything listed under r1.15A then you will be able to write solid relationship history. If you can’t provide some of the evidence do not worry – there is a high chance you can go ahead anyway but don’t go it alone! Seek advice as there is too much at stake if the application is refused.
Thank you Jennifer for your insight here, I found this information so informative and valuable.