Tribunal: Member Hugh Sanderson

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection refused the applicant’s Partner visa application on the basis she was not in a genuine and continuing relationship with her sponsoring partner. The applicant applied to the AAT for a review of the decision.

A Partner visa is available to an applicant who is the spouse of an Australian Citizen or Australian permanent resident, referred to as the sponsor. One condition of the Partner visa is that the applicant must be in a genuine and continuing relationship with the sponsor.[1]

The applicant claimed she travelled to Australia with her daughter on Visitor visas and met the sponsor on the day she arrived. She claimed their relationship grew quickly and they were married within 15 days of their arrival in Australia on 30 September 2015. She claimed she had never met the sponsor before she arrived in Australia. At the time of the hearing before the AAT, the applicant was living with the sponsor and her daughter. The applicant provided evidence to support her application including statements by the applicant and other people attesting to the genuineness of the relationship, joint residential tenancy for the parties’ home in Penrith, details of the parties joint bank account and the signed wills of the parties.

The AAT identified a number of issues with the applicant’s evidence that brought into doubt her claim to being in a genuine and continuing relationship. It noted that the very short period of time between the parties first meeting each other and deciding to commit to a marriage was a particularly concerning aspect of the relationship. The AAT found that the applicant and sponsor provided inconsistent information about the way their relationship developed.

The AAT was also concerned with the lack of information provided about the financial aspects of the relationship. The parties had only limited knowledge of each other’s financial affairs. The AAT took into account the fact that the parties had signed the joint tenancy agreement for a property in Penrith, however, there was little further information which would indicate that they had established a household together, or that their living arrangements indicated that they were in a genuine and continuing relationship, or that they lived together on a permanent basis.

The AAT found that the applicant had provided documents in support of the application that were not a true reflection of the claimed relationship between her and the sponsor. The AAT noted that the wills given by the parties were signed 22 days before the hearing and after they were invited to attend the hearing. This was a clear indication that the wills had simply been provided to support an immigration outcome.  The AAT also noted that Australian law requires parties to give a marriage celebrant one months’ notice of an intended date of marriage however the evidence was that the sponsor, at best, proposed marriage to the applicant three days before the marriage took place. The AAT noted that this would indicate that the claimed marriage was not genuine.

Overall, the AAT found that the parties did not display the degree of commitment to each other that would be expected if the parties were in a mutually exclusive relationship and if the relationship was genuine and continuing.

The AAT affirmed the decision to refuse the Partner visa.

Read the full written decision on AustLII.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

[1] Clauses 820.211(2)(a) and 820.221of Schedule 2 to the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) and Section 5f of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth)