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Tribunal: Member H Claringbold

The AAT remitted the decision to refuse the applicant’s partner visa application for reconsideration. 

A delegate for the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) had refused the applicant’s partner visa application as they were not satisfied that the applicant and sponsor were genuine spousal partners. The AAT had to consider whether the applicant and sponsor were validly married and whether they were in a spousal relationship.

The AAT accepted the evidence provided by the applicant of his marriage to the sponsor but also had to consider the following circumstances of their relationship:

  • evidence of financial and social aspects
  • nature of the applicant’s and sponsor’s household
  • their commitment to each other.

The applicant and sponsor did not pool their financial resources, particularly with major financial assets and apart from the applicant being the sponsor’s beneficiary for her superannuation, did not owe any legal obligation in respect of each other. The AAT accepted that they lived in different countries and may have shared limited day-to-day household expenses.

The applicant and sponsor had lived apart for most their relationship in different countries but provided information of occasions when they did live together. This information was inconsistent, but on seeking advice from the Department about their evidence, the AAT found that their claims were genuine.

The AAT also accepted that the applicant and sponsor represented themselves as a married couple and were accepted by other persons as a married couple. The applicant and sponsor provided evidence of joint social activities, including their wedding day, daily life when together and holidays. Evidence included third-party statements in support of their marriage. 

At the Tribunal hearing, the sponsor and applicant affirmed their commitment to each other and discussed their plans for their family. The AAT discussed the information provided by the applicant and sponsor in their interviews with the Department and was satisfied with the responses. The AAT found that the applicant and sponsor provided companionship and emotional support to each other and considered their relationship to be long-term.  

The parties satisfied the AAT that they had a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others, had a genuine and continuing relationship, and that they lived together and not separately and apart on a permanent basis.

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