Partner Visa Interview: Extensive list of questions a case officer is likely to ask




Partner visa interview questionsPartner visa interview prepartion MUST HAVE!

The Partner Visa Interview Preparation Guide includes an extensive list of questions likely to be asked by case officers during phone or face to face interview for partner visas. Including onshore 820/801; offshore 309/100 or prospective marriage 309.

This list is extensive and exhaustive. Quite often questions will be asked in relation to statements made by yourself, your partner or witness/reference statements. A case officer may also ask general questions that are completely unexpected.

The objective of case officers conducting interviews in the way they do is to test the accuracy, reliability and credibility of your application and the claims and statements made in them.

 

More than half of Partner Visa cases lodged with Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) are the direct result of information provided during case officer interviews (phone and face to face).*

 




The list featured in the Partner Visa Interview Preparation Guide is a reflection of the way interviews are conducted. A case officer may ask some questions, such as in relation to family members then switch to something completely different, then soon after switch back to asking questions about family members.

Partner Visa Interview Preparation GuideCase officer are always looking out for evidence of fake or ‘sham’ marriages that are arranged for migration purposes. This is technically termed a ‘contrivance’ and case officers seek to compile a list of anything that hints of a contrivance. This will prompt further investigation, leading case officers to assess the application as grant or refusal.

To avoid the pitfalls, be adequately prepared. Download your Partner Visa Interview Preparation Guide for only $5AUD.





* 2008 Parliamentary review into merits review process of failed partner visa applications.




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Partner Visa Refusal




Partner Visa RefusalPartner visa refusal is on the increase according to migration industry insiders.

Australian Immigration Department crackdown on fake or ‘sham’ marriages and ‘contrived relationships’ has resulted in some innocent and genuine couples being caught up in the drag net.

This is a deeply troubling consequence of recently implemented measures to clamp down on migration fraud involving de facto and spousal sponsorship for partner visas.

The three types of partner visa to Australia are Onshore (combined subclass 820/801); Offshore (combined subclass 309/100); and Prospective Marriage (subclass 309).

Across all three subclass of partner visa refusal is on the rise. Although there are different grounds for refusal for each of the three types of Partner Visa, a consistent trend across all three is lack of satisfactory evidence of relationship.

Partner Visa Interview Preparation Guide

The primary reason for partner visa refusal is inadequate evidence of genuine relationship and long term commitment.

Typically in the past, evidence of shared utility bills, lease agreements, phone records and photographs, etc, would suffice. Nowadays, these forms of evidence are increasingly viewed as easy to manufacture for a contrived relationship.




Unfortunately, because of the sheer numbers of contrived relationships, otherwise known as ‘sham marriages’, the departmental officers now require a more broad-based, holistic approach to reviewing evidence. This means that traditional forms of evidence that once would have been enough to guarantee a successful grant of Partner visa, now this is less the case.

Naturally, there are exceptions to this trend. Some applicants can still see a successful grant of Partner visa on the basis of a collection of traditional documentary evidence, such as photographs, signed statements, phone bills, etc.

However, anecdotal evidence from migration industry forums of migration agents and lawyers confirm a growing trend of Partner visa refusals, even where on the the surface the applicants having a seemingly strong case.

The key thing to remember when lodging partner visa applications, is that each case is unique and individual. Case officers are also individuals so what will work for one application will not necessarily be the same for another application.

When gathering evidence of relationship, try think as broadly as possible to document the relationship from multiple angles. The key is to think outside the box.

For advice or assistance, contact us or call us on the phone number on the home page of our website.

 




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Visa Cancellation Australia




Visa Cancellation Australia – Things to know

Visa cancellationVisa cancellation under Australian immigration law can be initiated by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for the following reasons:

  • Discovery of false, misleading or ‘bogus’ information during applicaiton;
  • Discovery of fake documents supplied as evidence during application;
  • Character grounds for criminal convictions or, in some cases, associating with known criminal groups;
  • Failure to pass genuine visa holder test – most commonly associated with student visas;
  • Anonymous tip offs and information provided to BIBP anyonmous tip off line that a person is acting in breach of visa conditions;
  • Breach of visa conditions.

Steps of cancellation process

The DIBP will receive adverse information about a visa holder. In the case of student visas, this is most often from the institution in which the visa holder is enrolled.

The Department then investigates the claim, or information recieved.

If satisfied that grounds for cancellation exist, a the visa holder is issued with a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC).

Contact us immediately if you receive a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation. Send email with a copy of the Notice attached. We will then contact you for a no-obligation, confidential discussion of how we can assist. Email our migration professionals at info@visafaq.com.au

This is also known as ‘natural justice’ letter, for it provides opportunity for the visa holder to give their side of the story before cancellation proceeds.




The visa holder is given 28 days from date of NOICC letter to provide a response.

If the case holder is not satisfied with the response, and therefore believes cancellation should proceed, the visa cancellation will take place.

The visa holder will be notified of cancellation by post or email. The notice will provide information about leaving Australia and date of cessation of visa.

Can the decision to cancel a visa be reversed?

In many cases, yes. In some, no.

There are different avenues available for former visa holders who have had their visas cancelled. These include:

  • Request for Revocation;
  • Merits review through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT);
  • Judicial review through the Federal Circuit Court (FCC);
  • Formerly, Ministerial Intervention requests were possible, but access to the Minister is now restricted, however in some cases, appeal to the Minister can be allowed.

The avenue of appeal depends on the type of cancellation, the grounds of cancellation, where the visa holder is at time of cancellation (onshore or offshore); extent of breach, types of breach and many others.

Avenues of appeal can be complex, so please feel free to contact us visa email with as much detail on your case as possible. We will review and contact you back by return email or phone.

 

 




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Family Violence Partner Visa Rules




Family Violence Partner Visa Rules

Provisions in law for family violence applies to partner visas where a relationship has ended, or is ongoing, but is subject to domestic violence. However, there are specific rules governing the process of applying for visa grant on the grounds of domestic violence (otherwise known as ‘family violence’).

family violence visaThe rules govern the type of evidence to be submitted to the department when claims are made of violence by a sponsoring partner. The law also provides for dependents of a sponsored partner who have been victims of violence by a sponsor to be granted full permanent residence together with the sponsored parent.

The type of violence considered under Australian immigration law is confined largely to physical forms of violence, however, in some cases other forms of violence may be considered by the Department.

Evidence Requirement

The types of evidence required to be submitted with application for grant under domestic violence provisions include judicially or non-judicially determined evidence.

Judicially Determined Evidence 

  • court injunctions under the Family Law Act 1975;
  • court orders issued under Australian state or territory law;
  • a registered conviction (or recorded finding of guilt) for violence perpetrated the sponsored partner and/or dependants.

It is important to note that evidence needs to show the domestic violence had occured whilst the relationship was ongoing and not after the relationship had already broken down and both parties separated.




Non-Judicially Determined Evidence 

  • A joint statement made in a court by the victim and the abusive sponsor declaring that an act of violence against the partner has taken place. The statement must set out details of alleged violence, by whom, against whom and circumstances before, during and after the events took place;
  • Statutory declaration using Form 1410. As above, the statutory declaration sets out the allegation of family violence and names the person alleged to have committed it;
  • at least two documents from an acceptable the list of evidence specified by the Department (in the relevant legislative instrument – Contact Us for the current list if required).

Be aware that if evidence of family violence is insufficient there is still a chance to avoid visa refusal or cancellation. We have proven expertise in assisting clients who have suffered domestic violence and are facing visa refusal or cancellation. For a no obligation consultation contact us to find out how we can help.

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Family Sponsored Visa Composition of Family




Family sponsored visas for Australia include Parent and Child visas.

For secondary applicants as family members, there are varying definitions of composition of family. This can vary by visa category.

For certain family sponsorship, the definition of a family member will determine the applicant’s eligibility. The following relationships usually apply:

 

Close Relative a spouse, de facto partner, child, step-child, adopted child, parent, step-parent, brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, adoptive brother or adoptive sister.
Relative Close relatives + grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild, step-grandchild, aunt, uncle, step-aunt, step-uncle, niece, nephew, step-niece or step-nephew
Skilled regional or sponsored All relatives + first cousin
Refugee or humanitarian All relatives + First or Second cousin
Child Can be child by birth, adoption or step child (however certain Regulations will limit secondary applications for some child types under certain conditions)
Dependent Child – Child or step child not yet 18 years of age- Child or step child not yet 25, unmarried and not engaged, who is dependent upon the applicant or not able to work due to mental or physical incapacity.
Stepchild – Child of current spouse or de facto partner or- Child of former spouse or de facto but now under guardianship or custodial care by law.




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No Further Stay Condition




No Further Stay Condition – 8503

No Further Stay condition is applied to some but not all visas.

Information on No Further Stay condition can be found on the Australian Immigration website.

When applying for a waiver to the condition, it is important to understand whether the condition applied to your visa is mandatory or discretionary one.

Mandatory simply means it MUST be applied, irrespective of the applicant and the country of application.

Discretionary means it can be applied by a case officer if they believe the visa applicant is at risk of overstaying their visa.

Waiver Request

The Australian Immigration Department’s website at the link above provides grounds for requesting a waiver.

A waiver means the applicant is given permission to make an application to remain in Australia.

The Department must approve this request before the application can be made.

It is also important to remember that bridging visas are not issued against waiver requests.

If you need to remain in Australia and need to make a waiver request to remove condition 8503 from your visa, be sure to make arrangements to have your bridging visa for the time your request is with the Department.

We can help you with this.

A waiver request must also be accompanied with adequate support documentation. Strong arguments with little or no (or incorrect) documentary evidence will fail.

Finally, it deserves note that a large number of waiver requests fail. Some have zero chance of success. Others have some chance of success but may be poorly or incorrectly written. Inadequate evidence in support of arguments is also another factor why so many waiver requests fail.

 




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Visa Cancellation on the Rise

Visa Cancellation is a growing trend

Australian government reporting in the Senate in late 2015 has shown a dramatic increase in visa cancellation.

The introduction of data matching systems across government departments, including state and federal jurisdictions, has allowed compliance monitors to identify breaches of conditions by visa holders.

Student visas in particular have seen a marked increase in cancellations. This has resulted in thousands of deportations or requests to depart Australia within 28 days.

If you are subject to a Notice to Consider Cancellation, contact us for FREE ADVICE or add a comment on HOME page. 

Senate data shows 10,949 student visa cancellations took place last year. The reasons for cancellation were largely breaches of visa conditions.

Other grounds for visa cancellation were failure to pass the genuine student test.

It is worth noting that the genuine student test is applied consistently from application and throughout the period of visa validity.

Mandatory and Discretionary Visa Cancellation

Visa cancellation is either mandatory or discretionary.

Simply, mandatory means the visa MUST be cancelled. This means that request for review or to argue for a better decision is near impossible.

Discretionary means that the case officer may decide to give a warning or just proceed to cancellation. This type of cancellation can be appealed.

Appealing for reversal of cancellation can be made as a Request for Revocation.

It is also important to bear in mind that the location of the visa holder at time of issue of notice is important. If onshore (in Australia) it is possible in most cases to appeal a decision.

Where a visa holder is offshore, there are SOME circumstances where an appeal can be made.

If a visa holder is in immigration clearance, there is no chance to make such an appeal.

visafaq REMEMBER TO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THE HOME PAGE IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION OF A GENERAL NATURE. WE CAN PROVIDE FREE ADVICE THAT MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE TO OTHER PEOPLE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION.

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Visa Refusal and Rules of Evidence – The fine line between visa grant and refusal

Visa Refusal and Rules of Evidence – The fine line between visa grant and refusal

Partner Visa Refusal

But not just partner visa applications!

A recent client case has come across my desk and has reminded me of how a genuine visa applicant can be refused by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection because of a simple lack of evidence to support their claims.

They were a genuine couple, deeply in love but a long history of relationship – but with very little to show of the facts of their relationship!

Evidence in the visa assessment process is critical to a positive outcome.

So many visa refusals can occur on the flimsiest of grounds by over zealous case officers because a lack of credible evidence leads to an adverse assessment that the visa applicant is simply lying or making things up.

But in so many cases this is simply not true.

Visa applicants need to understand that visa application assessments are done by humans working through a mechanical process of pass or fail against ‘grant criteria;.

Just believing that you meet the grant criteria for the visa you are applying for is a tragic mistake so many visa applicants make. This applies generally to employment, business and investment visa applicants, but even more so for partner visa applicants.

I send out a timely reminder to all readers of this blog that if you are not sure, reach out and ask!

Blogs and hearsay on what other people say worked for them does not always result in a positive visa application outcome for some. Do not risk it!

Seek the advice of a registered migration professional, such as us here at VISAFAQ or the many registered lawyers and migration agents with the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA can be found at www.mara.gov.au).

Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry. Visa refusal can result in wasted money, time and emotional trauma. For onshore applicants, it can result in Section 48 bar (meaning you would need to go offshore to make another application for the visa you require).

Feel free to contact me if you have any concerns about your application (pre and post application enquiries welcome).

 

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Visa application fee refunds – Not what they seem

In all my years of dealing with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection there is one thing I have learned. THEY DON’T LIKE GIVING MONEY BACK!

Visa application fee refunds are available to visa applicants on a limited set of circumstances.

refundThe Department assessing requests for visa application fee refunds against relevant provisions in the Migration Regulations.

A number of clients have approached us to seek refunds for visa applications withdrawn for various reasons. Unfortunately, most are disappointed to learn that refunds are selectively granted in a small number of circumstances.

Refund assessments are either ‘mandatory’ or ‘discretionary’.

Refund of visa application charges are firstly assessed against mandatory provisions. If none are found to apply, then the request for refund is assessed discretionary provisions.

 

Mandatory Provisions

Regulation 2.12F(1)(a)(i) and 2.12F(2) of the Migration Regulations (1994) specify the mandatory provisions. These include the following.

  • the application wa​s ‘unnecessary’ at the time it was made;
  • the application is made because of a mistake made by the department;
  • the applicant dies before a decision is made on the application;
  • the application was made in Australia and was for a Tourist visa or for a Medical Treatment visa;
  • the application is for an employment visa but no approved nomination was made identifying the visa applicant;
  • the application was withdrawn because the applicant does not have an approved sponsor.

As the above shows, the mandatory provisions are quite limited.

 

Discretionary Provisions

Under regulations visa application charge may be refunded if the visa application is made because of a mistake made by the applicant.

This provision allows for a refund if the visa applicant mistakenly applies for the completely wrong type of visa.

This provision is intended to cover situations where the application was not ‘unnecessary at the time it was made’ but where the visa was the wrong one for their situation.

Whether a refund is made in this circumstances is solely at the absolute discretion of the departmental officer concerned.

For questions or concerns about visa application charge refunds feel free to contact us for a no obligation discussion.

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10 year ban on re-applying for Australian visas now in place

Stronger measures to crack down on identity fraud have recently come into force in Australia’s immigration system.

From 22 March 2014, penalties under the so called Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4020 were increased from 3 years to 10 years. Applicants will not be able to make application for an Australian visa with PIC 4020 requirement for 10 years if there were found to have provided false information about their identity.

This restriction will also apply to individuals found to have committed identity fraud when applying for a visa previously when they are included as secondary applicants on a visa application.

The one-fails-all-fails principle will thus apply so it is essential that members of the same family unit making combined applications for a visa were not previously found to have committed identity fraud. If so, the entire family unit will be barred from making application.

The 10 year ban applies only to refusals made under the new identity requirements, not to refusals made under pre-March 22 regulations.

The 10 year period operates concurrently and not cumulatively, so that persons banned under former arrangements (3 years) will be facing 3 and 10 year bans concurrently.

As a further sign of the government’s intent to crack down on identity fraud in Australia’s visa and immigration system, the power of the Minister to waive the restrictions (either for compelling or compassionate reasons) have now been removed. The Minister will no longer have the power to waive the restrictions.

The purpose of the new arrangement is to strengthen the integrity of the migration program and deter identity fraud by introducing strict consequences where a visa application is refused because the applicant, or a member of their family unit, knowingly attempted to gain entry to Australia with fake identification.

WARNING: If you have made application for Australian visa with PIC 4020 requirement but that application has not been finally determined, and you believe you may be at risk of PIC 4020 10 year ban on reapplying for another visa, you will need to submit a correction of information form to the Department.

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WARNING: UNAUTHORISED IMMIGRATION WEBSITE

WARNING: UNAUTHORISED IMMIGRATION WEBSITE FOUND TO BE DEFRAUDING CLIENTS

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) recently warned of false and unauthorised websites attempting to defraud would be migrants of money and identities.

One website in particular, www.immigovau.co, mimics the current departmental website in appearance and layout, particularly when using certain browsers.

A departmental spokesman said it was a well-camouflaged fake which should be avoided. All Australian Government websites end with the country code gov.au.

“While there is no evidence that the department’s own web presence has been compromised, we advise web users who are looking for information on the department to make sure they visit the department’s official site at www.immi.gov.au,” the spokesman said.

“This issue is not unique to our department and is a common issue for companies and organisations which use websites to communicate information to their clients.”

Web users should ensure they have the www.immi.gov.au address in their browser when they are looking for information on the department and avoid this unauthorised website.

Consumers need also be care of other types of migration fraud, namely:

– Fraudulent phone calls from persons claiming to be a case officer from the DIBP, requesting credit card payments over the phone — NOTE: DIBP NEVER CALL TO REQUEST PAYMENTS OVER THE PHONE FROM CLIENTS. PAYMENTS TO DIBP ARE HANDLED BY A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SECTION TO DEPARTMENTAL UNITS WHERE CASE OFFICERS WORK. 

– Promises made by unregistered (and therefore NON-REGULATED) migration agents promising Permanent Residence or making claims that they know people inside DIBP and can guarantee a positive result. NOTE: DIBP employees are carefully monitored and scrutinised for signs of corruption or bribery. Heavy sentences and lengthy jail terms are imposed on government employees found to be involved in such criminal and illegal activities. Always ask for the migration agent’s Migration Agent’s Registration Number and check it for currency against the OMARA website at www.mara.gov.au.

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Partner Visa Interview preparation questions: What will the case officer ask?




Partner visa interview questionsTo be better prepared for your upcoming partner visa interview

  1. Know the types of questions to be asked

  2. Be sure there are no contradictions (after all, not all new couples are completely familiar with every detail of their partner’s life)

  3. Improve your understanding of how case officers assess answers to questions

When applying for Partner visas through to permanent residency (either subclass 820/801, 300 or 309/100 Offshore Partner visas), Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) case officers will most likely conduct a face to face or phone interview with applicant, and in some cases, the sponsor as well.

Although there are a standard range of questions you are likely to be asked, case officers will sometimes ask questions that are completely unexpected. The reason they do this is to try and weed out the genuine from the non-genuine applicants. That is, they are attempting to apply the genuine applicant test which requires looking for inconsistencies in accounts and claims by applicants.




Discovery of inconsistencies between interview notes, claims made on the initial application and supporting documentation will raise the red flag of credibility. Applicants seen to be failing the credibility test will be further investigated and are, by this action, at risk of being refused.

Download our Partner Visa Interview Preparation Guide for only $5AUD!

The Guide features

  • Extensive and exhaustive list of interview questions

  • Explanatory notes on process of evaluation by case officers assessing answers to interview questions

  • Checklist of documentary evidence the case officer should have in relation to your partner visa application. 





It is important therefore that when going into a partner visa interview, and this applies for immigration interviews for a range of visas in general — that your answers are natural, genuine and accurate. It is a good practice to be yourself, and not to give answers you think the case officer wants to hear, or answers that you think will make your case more successful potentially. Failing the credibility test can lead to a visa refusal, so at all times, just be natural and be yourself!

The downloadable list of questions is an exhaustive and extensive list compiled over years of dealings with case officers and clients.

The questions are equally valid and useful for

  • face to face interviews,
  • telephone interviews,
  • Tribunal appeals,
  • Ministerial pleadings as evidence of ‘compelling and compassionate’ nature,
  • for applicants, onshore and offshore, from a range of countries.

 

 

DON’T RISK YOUR APPLICATION ON SIMPLE MISTAKES DURING CASE OFFICER INTERVIEW!

BE PREPARED!

 

 




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Beware ‘bogus documentation’ when applying for a visa to travel to or remain in Australia (Part 3)

HOW DO DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION CASE OFFICERS ASSESS FOR BOGUS DOCUMENTS?

cancelAll forms of correspondence such as email,text messaging, blogging, letters, postcards and the like are used extensively by departmental case officers to corroborate stories, accounts, claims made in applications, etc. It is important when compiling such material as documentary evidence, such as in demonstrating relationship between sponsor and applicant, that different sources and modes of communication are used. This is a form of cross-checking you can do on the case officer’s behalf.

Traditional forms of communication such as letters are carefully analysed and scrutinised for authenticity and veracity (ie. truthfulness). Envelopes are noted for origin, date of time stamp and even style.The method of postal sending and receipt is understood in order that the case officer can make an assessment of how likely or possible a form of communication can be. For example, an applicant may claim that regular mail correspondence was sent from a certain remote location in country X to country Y. In checking the operations of the postal system in both countries and the form of postal communication used, case officers can assess the claims using this sort of background analysis.

Other things to be aware of when using traditional modes of hand writing that the level of analysis used on the paper used, thicknesses, weight, colours, sealant used on envelopes (such as glue), creases and impressions on paper etc. The same applies for analysis of the hand written word, down to type and colour of pen, pressure used by hand writer and style of writing. Comparisons are made of earlier and later forms of hand written documentation evidence to ensure consistency throughout.

Communications may also take different forms according to the cultural ideosyncrasies of the region in which the applicant resides or originates. It could be worthwhile in your dealings with the departmental case officer to point such things out in order to avoid suspicion of handling and submitting bogus documentation.

The hints, tips and tricks above are a guide only and not a definitive discussion of all methods used by the Department in checking the authenticity and validity of documentation. If unsure, seek professional advice from a MARA registered migration agent or lawyer.

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Beware ‘bogus documentation’ when applying for a visa to travel to or remain in Australia (Part 2)

HOW DO DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION CASE OFFICERS ASSESS FOR BOGUS DOCUMENTS?

cancelAs Mentioned in Part 1 of this series, heavy penalties are now being introduced by DIBP for people found to have submitted — knowingly or otherwise — false or misleading documents or proven to have filled in forms with incorrect information. PIC 4020 rules now allow for restrictions on making further visa applications of up to 10 years to be applied to individuals caught out submitting false or fraudulent — and in some cases just plain wrong — information and documentation.

The following are insights into how departmental case officers assess documents and information for falseness.

Documents such as Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) and Statutory Declarations are used extensively in partner visa applications in particular. These are legal documents so they need to be treated carefully and with a view to ensuring that no false or misleading information is contained within. Signatures are rigorously checked by assessing officers and cross matched with databases within the DIBP and in some cases cross departmental databases in Australia and overseas.

Forms are also checked for how many different hands have written information into individual questions. Recurring signatories are flagged for further investigation and could be the trigger for an eventual refusal.

Registraiton of notaries are also checked for current status ‘at time of application’. Unregistered notaries, agents or service providers, such as Marriage Celebrants, could render the document INVALID.

Be sure to check the current state of registration of any service provider you engage for your visa application.

If unsure, as always, seek professional migration advice from a MARA registered migration agent.

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Beware of ‘bogus documentation’ when applying for a visa to travel to or remain in Australia (Part 1)

HOW DO DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION CASE OFFICERS ASSESS FOR BOGUS DOCUMENTS?

cancelBogus documentation is dealt with in s97 of the Migration Act (1954). Bogus documents are defined as being false in a material particular, which basically means documentation that is telling a lie or hiding the truth.

The Act defines a bogus document thus

‘in relation to a person, means a document that the Minister reasonably suspects is a document that:

(a) purports to have been, but was not, issued in respect of the person; or

(b) is counterfeit or has been altered by a person who does not have authority to do so; or

(c) was obtained because of a false or misleading statement, whether or not made knowingly’

The Australian government is presently stepping up efforts to crackdown on all types of migration fraud, such as fake passports and personal identification documents. Cutting edge fraud detection technology and data matching across government departments and with international agencies is further assisting the Department with this aim of reducing, if not eliminating, all forms of migration fraud.

Aside from measures to detect fraudulent visa applications, the Australian government also announced recently the increase in penalties for persons found to be submitting bogus documentation (under the PIC 4020 rule) to dis-allow an individual from applying for another substantive visa for 10 years.

It is also important to note, that ignorance is no protection under the law.

Whether you knowingly or unwittingly submitted information or documents that were false, you can still be liable for this 10 year exclusion penalty.

It is therefore CRITICAL that when you are making application for an Australian visa that all documents (including questions you answer on application forms) submitted to the Department in support of applications are true, genuine and accurate.

If you are not sure, consult a professional migration agent or lawyer.

The following are some simple insights into the way DIBP officers deal with supporting documents and evidence when reviewing your application.

NOTE: Recent MSI (Migration Series Instruction) 292 states that there is no power in migration legislation to refuse an application because the applicant ‘may not be who they say they are or may have presented a bogus document’.

1. Rules in preparing and handling official documents – Birth, Death, Marriage Divorce Certificates – There are local ideosyncrasies and peculiarities with uch official documents. When submitting your application it will help to point this out and explain the differences that may exist. This will help to remove doubts about authenticity of documents and avoid suspicion that you are giving ‘a bogus document’.

Think of other corroborating evidence such as baptismal certificates, local religious or government registries. Be aware that the Department is aware that corruption is a problem in many local official offices. There are limits upon case officers over how deeply they can delve into your past, so if you feel the Department is breaching your privacy rights, consult a legal professional.

Like with any type of visa application, and more generally in your dealings with the Department, it is important to think outside the box and to try to pre-empt the moves of the case officer before they make a decision not favorable to you. It is a good idea to consult with a good migration agent or lawyer on this point if you do not already have an appointed representative.

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What are balance of family tests?




What are balance of family tests?

Balance of family tests are applied to parent sponsorship in Parent visa applications. 

The balance of family test is the weighing of eligible with ineligible children.

Eligible children are those considered to be usually resident in Australia. For example, PR or citizens of Australia.

Ineligible children are those usually resident in an overseas country.

All children and step children are considered in the test, and the nature and quality of the relationships are not considered.

The test is applied only at time of application.




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Settled Usually Resident Definitions Sponsored Visas




 

When applying to sponsor a relative through a number of the Family visa subclasses, the degree to which an applicant is considered ‘settled’ or ‘usually resident’ in Australia will influence the decision by a case officer.

Australian Immigration Law often limits sponsorship of family members to those sponsors who can demonstrate their commitment to Australia. This is contained in the Migration Regulations at (at R1.03) to be one who is ‘settled’ by being lawfully resident for a reasonable period (usually taken by policy guidance to be around two years, depending on the particulars of the case).

Persons with less evidence of permanent ties to Australia may be considered ‘usually resident’. The departmental officers will consider a person to be usually resident by such factors as:

– Their physical presence in country;

– Length of stay;

– Places where they eat and sleep and make usual abode;

– Whether they retain or seek the right to re-enter the country (for example, whilst the holder of PR);

– The demonstrated intent to make Australia their usual country of abode.

To make a stronger case for sponsorship in family visa applications, it is advisable to demonstrate strong ties to Australia through the key areas of employment, family, emotional, assets, cultural and social links. The more documentary evidence that can be provided, the stronger your case will be in showing long term commitment to a life Australia.

Passing the balance of family test requires the applicant to show that the number of eligible children or step children are equal to or greater than the number of ineligible children.




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Assurance of Support for Contributory Parent Visa




Assurance of Support for Contributory Parent Visa

Assurances of support (AoS) are administered by Centrelink and not Department of Immigration.

Assurance of SupportAoS is an undertaking by an Australian resident or organisation (the assurer) and the Australian Government.

Under an AoS, the assurer agrees to support the migrant (the assuree).

The assurer also agrees to repay any recoverable payments paid to the assuree during the AoS period.

Support for any children of the assuree may also be covered by the agreement.

Centrelink decides who can be an assurer by assessing the assurer’s financial capacity to provide support.

Before applying to become an assurer, a person should consider whether they are able to meet the legal and financial obligations of providing an AoS.

Mandatory, or bonded, AoS are required for only Parent, Aged Parent, Contributory Parent, Aged Dependent Relative and Remaining relative visas.

Assurers can be anyone (or organisation) aged over 18, Australian or New Zealand citizens and have the financial capacity to meet the assurance undertakings and is willing to assure against debts to the Commonwealth by assurees.

Assurances can cover two adults and multiple dependent minors.

Dependents over the age of 18 require separate assurances.

Assurances are evidenced with present proof of income for individuals, or financial statements of organisations, as well as evidence of income for the previous two years.

Notice of Assessment issued by the ATO are typically used.

Joint assurances are permissible where the assurer does not have the financial capacity or evidence of proof of income to be eligible to be assurer in one’s own right.




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de facto Visa – Relationship Defined




 

A de facto relationship is defined in the Migrations Regulations (at R1.09A) as existing between two people of the same or opposite sex, who are not married and can demonstrate

  • a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others; and
  • the relationship is genuine and continuing.

If they do not live together they must not live separately and apart on a permanent basis.

R2.03A also states they need to be in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months immediately prior to application for their visa. Policy now stipulates that in some cases, registration of the de facto relationship with State Government authorities can reduce this 12 month requirement.

When compiling a submission for a partner sponsorship, documentary evidence of the following are required. (NOTE: Quality, credible and verifiable documentation will often help to bring about faster determinations)

Financial aspects of the relationship:

  • joint ownership of real estate or other asset classes;
  • joint liabilities;
  • the extent of financial resources pooling, for example in relation to major financial commitments;
  • whether legal obligations are owed to one another in the relationship;
  • sharing of day-to-day household expenses;

Nature of the household:

  • joint responsibility for the care and support of children;
  • the living arrangements of the persons (for example in sleeping together or apart);
  • any sharing of the responsibility for housework;

Social aspects of the relationship:

  • whether the relationship is represented to other people as de facto;
  • the opinion of friends and acquaintances concur with the view of it being a de facto relationship;
  • previous, present and future evidence of joint social activities;

The nature of commitment to each other:

  • the duration of the relationship;
  • the length of time of living together;
  • the degree of companionship and emotional support evident in the relationship;
  • whether both people see the relationship as a long-term one.

 

 




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