How to Avoid a Partner Visa Refusal in 2023?

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by Rofia Mavaddat - LL.B - Registered Migration Agent [MARN 1467678]

October 3, 2023

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Can a Partner Visa be refused?

Yes it’s true – your Partner Visa certainly can be rejected. One of the most common reasons for Partner Visa refusal is a lack of supporting documentation provided with your Partner Visa application.

When you lodge your Partner Visa application, you will need to meet certain criteria. These include demonstrating that you are in a genuine and continuing de-facto or spousal relationship.

How do they actually make that assessment though? The Department of Home Affairs will assess your application against four different factors. They will look at your financial evidence, social evidence, the nature of your commitment to one another and the nature of your household. It’s important that you are providing strong evidence around these four factors to avoid having your Partner Visa denied.

What percentage of Partner Visas are rejected?

In 2021-2022 the refusal rate for Partner Visas was 4.2% (source: 2021-22 Migration Program Report)

Partner Visa Applications and Outcomes 2018 to 2022

Partner Visa Statistics 2018 to 2022

There is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there about Partner Visa refusal rates. In my opinion, most of it is nonsense and probably not even relevant to you! (I’ll get to the why soon).

I have even seen misinformation from so-called ‘reputable’ Migration Agents and Lawyers. The best source of information when looking at how many Partner Visas are refused, is the Department of Home Affairs themselves, but even then, take it with a pinch of salt.

The graph above shows us that 4.2% of Partner Visas were refused in the 2021-2022 migration year program. But is this something to be worried about if you’ve double checked that you meet the eligibility criteria and you’ve put together an amazing application? Probably not. In my opinion this graph could show us that 20% of Partner Visas were refused in 2021-2022 but it would still make no difference to someone who’s gotten the right advice and knows what they’re doing.

So after nearly 10 years experience with Partner Visas, I don’t give too much weight to Partner Visa refusal stats, but more importantly I look to whether a couple actually meets the criteria for a Partner Visa and what evidence they have.

What are the main reasons for a Partner Visa refusal?

There are so many reasons why a Partner Visa might be refused. The most common situation is where you have not provided sufficient documentation evidencing your relationship.

We have had so many couples come to us with a Partner Visa refusal, and in many cases, they don’t understand why it was refused in the first place. With most of these scenarios, lack of evidence was the main factor and reason for rejection.

As an example, the Department will look at how you and your partner share your finances. If you fail to provide any evidence around the financial aspects of your relationship, then this could be a reason why your Partner Visa is refused. Similarly, if you aren’t evidencing the social aspects of your relationship (for example, not providing witness statements) then this can also impact the outcome of your Partner Visa. It’s not enough to download generic document checklists off the internet. No two relationships are ever the same so how can we expect there to be a ‘one fits all’ checklist?

What would make a Partner Visa case at high risk of refusal?

If you want to avoid a Partner Visa refusal (and we assume if you’re reading this, then that’s you), there are certain ‘red flags’ to be mindful of.

You need to make sure that before you lodge your Partner Visa application, it meets the relevant criteria for the grant of the visa. It seems obvious but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s as easy as completing a couple of application forms and throwing in some evidence of your relationship. Not understanding the requirements and key criteria for a Partner Visa is one of the most common red flags. I would need a whole other blog to talk about how many couples I’ve seen after their Partner Visas are refused and some really simple steps they could have taken to prevent the refusal.

If you and/or your partner have any criminal convictions, this may put you at a higher risk of refusal as well as serious medical issues for the visa applicant. Remember that these are only a couple of common examples which may put an application at higher risk of refusal. It’s always best to get advice from a migration agent before lodging a Partner Visa.

What happens if my Partner Visa is refused?

If your Partner Visa is refused, there are generally two options that you have when deciding your next steps (and no, begging the Department to change their mind isn’t one of them).

A Partner Visa rejection can be a very stressful time, so you will want to make sure that you know and have considered all your options. If your visa has been refused, you can appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. There are very strict time limits on when you need to lodge the appeal. You also have the option of re-submitting your Partner Visa application.

It’s important to speak to a Partner Visa Expert if your application has been refused so they can access the best course of action and next steps with you.

What to do if my Partner Visa is refused?

Having your Partner Visa refused can be a very stressful time in you and your partner’s life. No one likes a Partner Visa refusal. If your Partner Visa is rejected, you can appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or re-apply.

If you do intend on appealing the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, you need to make sure that you lodge the appeal within a certain period of time, otherwise, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will no longer be able to make a fresh assessment of your case. 

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal can either remit or affirm the Department’s original decision on your visa. They do not have the power to grant you your Partner Visa. If they ‘remit’ the decision, this means that they are sending your application back to the Department of Home Affairs with directions that it should continue processing. If they ‘affirm’ the decision, this means that they agree with the Department’s original decision to refuse your Partner Visa.

There’s no time frame on when you can re-lodge your Partner Visa if it’s refused. You can do it immediately, or you can wait until you’ve gathered additional evidence of your relationship and spoken to an immigration lawyer or migration agent to assess the reasons why it was refused in the first place.

How to prevent a Partner Visa refusal?

Here’s the million dollar question. Having your Partner Visa refused is a huge worry for many couples. We can’t stress enough how important it is to prepare. There are some really simple steps you can take to increase the chances of your Partner Visa being approved. The most important step is knowing the eligibility criteria for the Partner Visa you’re applying for and how to actually meet all the criteria.

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of different forums, blogs, and even taking advice from friends and family. Avoid all the noise around what you should and shouldn’t do by people who are not qualified to give you that advice. We know that it’s always well-intentioned but everyone’s relationship is different, so what might be applicable to one couple, might not be necessarily applicable to you.

You want to make sure that you’re lodging the strongest application possible. This includes being across what the ‘four pillars of relationship‘ is and evidencing each pillar. You want to make sure that you are really speaking to your decision maker and explaining how you manage various aspects of your lives together – this is done through your Relationship Statements.

If you prepare your application properly, with the right advice and information you are increasing your success rate.

Will using a migration agent/lawyer increase my chances of success?

Getting professional help with your Partner Visa application can definitely help increase the chances of success. In Australia only Registered Migration Agents and lawyers are allowed to provide immigration advice.

Using a Partner Visa Expert, for example, someone who specialises just in Partner Visas can help you achieve a successful outcome because they are trained in all things Partner Visas. They will be able to guide you through the entire process step by step and answer all your questions along the way.

IMPORTANT: Please note, this does not constitute Immigration advice. Always seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent before applying for an Australian Visa. Migration Law is constantly changing. This information is accurate only at the time of publication.

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Rofia Mavaddat - LL.B - Registered Migration Agent [MARN 1467678]

Rofia was born in Perth, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Law and has been a Registered Migration Agent since 2014. Rofia chose to specialise in Partner Visas because of a deep-seated belief in the power of love and family unity. She has seen firsthand the joy and fulfillment that comes from reuniting couples and keeping families together. Her work in this area allows her to witness and be a part of the beautiful stories of love and togetherness - what could be more rewarding? 

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