In February this year, Department of Home Affairs released the following statistic in a Freedom of Information Request:
Total number of Partner visa applications without a migration agent, that was refused in:
FY2015/2016 : Subclass 309/100 and Subclass 820/801– 53.8%
FY2016/2017 : Subclass 309/100 and Subclass 820/801 – 47.0%
Half of all partner visa applications submitted without a migration agent was refused. HALF! Why? What are the common reasons for refusal? What can you do differently?
Our principal migration agent and former-Immigration Officer shares his secrets to successful partner visas. (He's led the team in achieving 100% success rate for every partner visa we have ever lodged, so he knows what he's talking about!)
Screenshot from FOI request:
What are the common reasons for refusal?
Before we go into the 4 common reasons, you must first understand 1 key thing: Visa Processing Officers are sceptical. They see thousands of illegitimate applications, so you really need to put in the effort to convince them that your relationship is genuine ("we're in a real relationship, we'll be fine!," sound familiar?). Visa Processing Officers (VPO) have close to total discretion to decide whether your application is refused or granted. There often isn't a second opinion. So you should always be putting the strongest case forward.
Now what are the most common reasons for refusals?
Applicants are ineligible
Applicants did not provide sufficient evidence
Inconsistent answers in the application
What can you do differently?
1. Check your eligibility!
(It may sound obvious but surprisingly many lodge their applications without being 100% sure and then spend 2-4 years panicking!) Do your research thoroughly, make sure you meet every single one of the criteria listed on the Immigration website (Link for: 820/801 and 309/100). Have you lived together for long enough? Has your partner sponsored someone else in the last 5 years?
When in doubt, ask someone who knows. A friend who has successfully gotten their visa, forums...However, every single person's situation really is different. So we'd always recommend speaking with a migration specialist. Otherwise you might be wasting months/years of time preparing an application when you might be failing a few key criteria. We offer free consultations here at Skylark, you can book a private consultation with our principal migration agent 100% free.
2. Make sure you at least provide every document on the document checklist.
The trouble usually comes when you don't have a particular document (e.g. joint lease, household bills in both names, joint invitations etc.). Instead of ignoring it, you should identify which of the 4 key criteria it relates to and what else you can provide to prove that you meet that criteria.
If there's something else that's relevant and beneficial to your application that's not on the official immigration checklist, include it! We usually provide over 50 supporting documents for our applications! In this post, we gave some examples of documents not included on the official Immigration document checklist that we include here at Skylark to demonstrate the 4 key criteria. Note: only include what's relevant, because there's a downside to drowning officers with irrelevant evidence.
3. Check and recheck that you understand every question and have provided the correct answers.
We know this is tedious as there are 159+ questions over 60 pages of application forms, but this is necessary. You don't want to waste $7000+ over a discrepancy in dates!
💡 For the application question "Date committed relationship began?"
This question for example is NOT asking for the date you started exclusively dating, but is actually asking for when you began living together or when you both got married. Make sure you and your partners' statements and questions all have the same date!
Top advice for partner visa applicants
Evidently, the better you meet the criteria, the stronger your application is.
The biggest mistake is when people don't 100% meet a criteria, or they have a particular aspect they're worried about, instead of addressing this in a way that convinces VPOs that they still meet that criteria, we find people tend to try to hide that fact.
This, more often than not, will not work.
Timing is also important. On the cusp of meeting the 12 months living together requirement? Been living together for 2 years and 9 months? Even waiting a few months longer could make the difference between refusal and grant, or significantly the time to permanent residency!
You can have a look here for some of our other past blog posts that cover aspects such as 'do you need to have lived together for 12 months?', 'How to Get Your Partner Visa Granted Faster', 'How to Use Joint Bank Accounts', '3 Ways to Halve the Stress When Applying for Visas' and many more!
Not sure if you meet all the requirements? Concerned about your application?
Book in for a free consultation to speak 1-to-1 with our migration experts today for that extra peace-of-mind!