partner visa application

 

Have you fallen in love with an Aussie?

 

If your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and you plan to submit a partner visa application so you can remain together, this article is for you.

Here are three easy ways to increase your likelihood of a successful application:

 

1. Join the queue ASAP

Trying to navigate the deadlines and documents the Department of Home Affairs requires can be a nightmare. Sure, all the information is online, but it’s usually sprinkled across so many different web pages and forms that it’s hard to put all the pieces together.

Once you know you want to stay in Australia, the first thing you should do is ask a migration agent which documents you need, how to submit them, and when they’re due.

Make sure you do this well before your current visa expires because partner visa processing is notoriously slow, usually taking 13-18 months per application.

There’s rarely a way to fast track this process: The sooner you pay your visa fee, the sooner you join the queue. So, find out what you need to do to and take action ASAP.


2. Find out which rules are more flexible than others

If you’re concerned that you or your partner don’t meet the visa requirements listed online, there can still be a way to make that visa happen.

Here are two common situations that, at first glance, don’t meet the visa criteria, but can be worked to your favour by a smart solicitor:

  • Short relationships: To obtain a partner visa you generally must have been in a relationship and cohabiting with your Aussie partner for at least 12 months prior to lodging your application. However, if the duration of your relationship/cohabitation is less than 12 months, it’s still possible to obtain a partnership visa. This can be done by registering your defacto partner status with an Australian state or territory, obtaining a relationship certificate, then making a successful submission to waive the 12 months relationship requirement. 
  • Criminal records: You may be disappointed to discover your partner is unlikely to pass the Australian government’s character checks. The Department of Home Affairs has a specific requirement that the visa applicant’s partner doesn’t have a significant criminal record (a term of imprisonment up to 12 months or more). What you might not know, however, is that there are some exemptions which can be granted (such as compelling circumstances), but this takes time and needs to be dealt with early in the process.

With the right advice, you can overcome potential roadblocks that would otherwise delay, or sink or visa approval.  

 

3. Don’t assume the Department of Home Affairs will chase you

When it comes to providing supporting documentation and evidence, the onus is on you to do everything.

Don’t assume that if you’ve left something important out, the Department of Home Affairs will chase you down to ask for additional paperwork. If you don’t have enough evidence, chances are they will just reject your application, leaving you out of pocket for your application fee, and at the back of the queue again.

 

If you need help applying for your partnership visa…

Consider getting in touch with Phoenix Law.

We have solicitors that speak your language, including:

  • Mandarin speaking lawyers
  • Cantonese speaking lawyers
  • Japanese speaking lawyers
  • Farsi speaking lawyers
  • Dari speaking lawyers
  • Hindi speaking lawyers
  • Urdu speaking lawyers
  • Kurdish speaking lawyers
  • Bosnian speaking lawyers
  • Croatian speaking lawyers
  • Serbian speaking lawyers
  • French speaking lawyers
  • Italian speaking lawyers
  • Polish speaking lawyers
  • Russian speaking lawyers
  • Slovenian speaking lawyers
  • Macedonian speaking lawyers
  • Montenegrian speaking lawyers

Call (07) 3180 0908 or email info@phoenix-law.com.au for an obligation-free consultation. We’ll help you any way we can!

 

underpaid migrant worker lawyer

 

damning new report has shown over 50% of Australia’s international students, temporary migrant workers and backpackers are paid as little as half the minimum wage and only 10% ever attempt to recover their unpaid wages.

 
The study, which examined responses from 4322 participants originating from 107 countries, who worked in all Australian states and territories, also revealed only 3% of underpaid migrant workers went to the Fair Work Ombudsman and more than half of those who did recovered nothing.
 

Contrary to popular belief that migrants are content with lower wages, 54% of migrant workers were indeed open to trying to claim their unpaid wages. Yet, they did not do so for a variety of reasons:

 

  • 25% feared they would lose their visa 
  • 22% feared they would lose their job 
  • 42% said they did not know what to do 
  • 15% said their “English was not good enough” 
  • 35% said it was “too much work” did not know how much effort was involved 
  • 28% said they had agreed to the wage, so they had no legitimate reason to complain
  • 26% said that others around them had the same wage and weren’t taking action 
  • 20% were pessimistic about getting a positive outcome 
Australia’s underpayment epidemic is clearly fuelled by unscrupulous employers who rely on migrant workers’ silence.

 

What can underpaid migrant workers do?

 

While most naturalised Australians will tell migrant workers to seek help from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), the reality is that the FWO rarely assists individuals in a meaningful way.
 
First, the FWO has a directive to ensure that ‘at least 90% of requests for assistance involving a workplace dispute are finalised through education and dispute resolution services’. This means that most underpaid workers who contact the FWO will be directed to their website or other service providers.
 
Second, even when a formal Request for Assistance is submitted, the FWO may address the matter directly with the employer or attempt to mediate over the phone – although they have no power to compel the employer to participate. This could jeopardise a worker’s visa and employment.
 
Third, according to the report, “In only a small fraction of cases, an individual Request for Assistance will trigger a formal investigation… while remedies for individual workers may flow from [subsequent] enforcement activities or be a means to achieving their goals, they are not a primary objective in their own right.”
 
In short, the role of the FWO is not to advocate for individual workers, but to ensure general compliance within businesses, and the majority of workers who contact FWO will not get their unpaid wages.

 

How a solicitor can assist underpaid migrant workers

 

Wherever financially possible, it seems the best recourse for migrant workers who are owed money from their employers is to seek legal advice.
 
A solicitor can help migrant workers:
  • Directly negotiate with their employer from a position of legal standing, ensuring their visa and job are not threatened.
  • Gather the required evidence and documentationwhich can be difficult for workers who aren’t issued payslips or are paid in cash.
  • File a claim in court (most often small claims court, but in some cases, a class action may be appropriate). Often, success may hinge upon something as simple as correctly identifying who a worker’s legal employers are and the legal instrument they have breached.
While it is true that some cases may not be worth pursuing, wage theft can quickly add up.
 
An employee who has been underpaid by $10 an hour for 20 hours a week would be entitled to $10,400 a year.

 

What to do when you’re a migrant worker who has been underpaid

 

If you’ve been underpaid, don’t just call the Fair Work Ombudsman. Seek legal advice. Call (07) 3180 0908 or email info@phoenix-law.com.au for a confidential discussion about your circumstances.
 
Our solicitors speak:
 
  • Japanese 
  • Chinese (Mandarin) 
  • Farsi (Persian) 
  • Dari 
  • Hindi 
  • Urdu 
  • Kurdish

Most immediate family members (or dependent relatives) can be included in your application, however there are a number of requirements before the application can be lodged.

They must meet the Australian Government’s requirements to be considered ‘family’ and include documentation to support your relationship.

Family members will need to meet the same health and character requirements as you as well as to show that their financial support matches yours. Lastly, Sponsors for subclass 457 applications will also need to consent in writing to include your family members as secondary sponsored persons. More information can be found on the department of Immigration website and in our office from a skilled team of solicitors and registered migration agents.