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 to grant the applicant a partner visa as they were not satisfied that the applicant and sponsor were in a genuine married relationship.
The AAT considered a number of factors to determine whether the parties had a mutual commitment to a shared life as a married couple to the exclusion of all others, a genuine and continuing relationship, and if they lived together, or if not, that they did not live separately on a permanent basis. The AAT also confirmed whether the parties were validly married.
In order to arrive at a decision, the AAT looked at all the circumstances of the relationship including:
- evidence of the financial and the social aspects of the relationship
- the nature of the applicant’s and sponsor’s household
- their commitment to each other.
After examining their financial arrangements, the AAT was satisfied that, even though the parties managed their personal expenses individually, they shared household expenses equally and shared a savings account. The parties also had other financial ties to each other including nominating each other as a beneficiary on their superannuation.
The applicant and sponsor had lived separately on four different occasions. However, after considering the evidence the AAT was satisfied that this was on a temporary basis due to work commitments and health issues.
The parties provided inconsistent information about the social aspects of their relationship initially but addressed the issue satisfactorily in submissions given after the hearing. The parties also provided numerous statements from individuals who have known them on a long-term basis in support of their relationship. The AAT was satisfied that the parties represent themselves, and were known to their community, as a married couple.
The AAT also found that the applicant and sponsor supported each other during financial difficulties and their separations. It found they had joint plans for their future including saving for a home and having children. The AAT was satisfied that the parties provided each other with companionship and emotional support and that they saw their relationship as long term.
After weighing these factors, the AAT was satisfied overall that the applicant and sponsor were in a genuine spousal relationship.
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