Tribunal: Member Scott Clarey

In order to be granted a Partner visa, the visa applicant and their sponsor must be found to be spouses. The Migration Act sets out specific criteria for this class of relationship, including that the parties are validly married to each other, they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others, their relationship is genuine and continuing, and they do not live separately on a permanent basis.

The AAT was asked to review a decision by the Department of Home Affairs to refuse to grant a Partner visa to the applicant. The applicant had married her Australian citizen sponsor in China in 2005. The parties claimed to have met while the sponsor was living and working in China. The parties claimed to have lived together in China until 2013 when the sponsor returned to Australia because his pension would be cut off. The applicant moved to Australia in 2014 to be with the sponsor. 

The AAT, despite not being satisfied with the applicant’s explanations for the 15 month delay in her joining the sponsor permanently in Australia, proceeded to consider that there was a genuine effort by the couple to introduce the applicant to the sponsor’s family as his wife. The AAT also considered other factors such as their shared bank account, the nature of their shared tenancy agreement and the social representation of their relationship to friends and relatives.

The AAT was satisfied that the applicant and sponsor have a mutual commitment to a shared life as a married couple to the exclusion of all others, that the relationship is genuine and continuing and that they live together. The couple therefore met the requirements for a spousal relationship. The AAT remitted the matter back to the Department for reconsideration.

Read the full written decision on AustLii.