Wed an Australian and easily gain permanent residency with full work rights in Australia

Australia is well known for its beautiful coastal views, diverse wildlife, and relaxed lifestyle. It’s no surprise that many people from other countries dream of moving to Australia permanently. Marrying an Australian citizen offers one relatively straightforward pathway to gain residency and work rights – but it’s important to go into this decision with open eyes. 

The Partner Visa Process

If you marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you become eligible to apply for a partner visa. There are three main partner visa categories within the Australian immigration system:

Provisional Visa (subclass 309/100)

This two-year temporary visa allows you to live in Australia with your partner while your application for permanent residency is processed. To qualify, you’ll need to demonstrate the legitimacy and ongoing nature of your relationship through evidence like joint finances, correspondence, photos together, and statutory declarations from witnesses.

Partner (Permanent) Visa (subclass 801/851)

After living in Australia for the last two years on a Provisional Partner visa, you can apply for permanent residency. You’ll need to prove your relationship is still ongoing and genuine. If approved, this grants you permanent residency with access to Australian citizenship after four years.

Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300)

If you plan to marry your partner overseas and then migrate together to Australia, this visa allows you to enter the country as the spouse of an Australian citizen. You must marry within nine months of arriving. You’d then apply for a Partner visa once in Australia.

Requirements and Evidence for a Partner Visa

The visa process involves stringent checks to verify your relationship is genuine and formed for reasons other than obtaining residency. Some key requirements and evidence needed include:

Proof of a Genuine and Continuing Relationship

  • Joint bank accounts/loans/credit cards/bills showing financial interdependency
  • Photos together over time, including from overseas visits
  • Correspondence like emails, letters, messages showing regular contact
  • Evidence of social activities attended together as a couple

Minimum Age Requirements

  • Both parties must be 18 years or older at the time of application
  • Significant age differences may require additional evidence that the relationship is genuine

Ability to Communicate in English

  • You’ll need to prove a basic level of English ability through an exam like IELTS or evidence of study

Health and Character Requirements

  • Police clearances from all countries lived in for over 12 months since turning 16
  • Meet health requirements through medical examination if requested

Financial Requirements

  • Evidence your partner can fully financially support you through payslips, tax records, proof of employment, or assets

Ongoing Commitment to the Relationship

  • Intention to live together permanently in Australia upon residency grant
  • Statutory declarations from legal witnesses like family members or friends

Meeting all these factors takes careful preparation of documents and evidence spanning several years of your relationship. Professional migration agents can help you gather all the necessary paperwork to maximize your application’s chances of success.

Navigating the Relationship and Visa Processes

While marrying Australian sounds like a straightforward path, the reality involves unique challenges in maintaining the relationship through what can be a lengthy visa process. Let’s explore some key issues that commonly arise:

Distance and Time Spent Apart

Many couples spend prolonged periods living separately across borders as visas are processed – sometimes years at a time if applications are refused or appealed. This puts immense strain on even strong relationships and requires absolute trust, commitment, and regular contact. Video calls, visits when possible, and a clear end date in sight are helpful.

Wed an Australian and easily gain permanent residency with full work rights in Australia

Financial Costs and Work Restrictions

The visa application fees are costly, without factoring lawyer/agent expenses which can total tens of thousands of dollars over multiple applications. Being on a temporary visa also means tight work restrictions, uncertainty over job security, and dependence on your partner’s income which impacts personal freedom and security.

Cultural and Family Dynamics

A relationship between citizens from different countries inevitably brings cultural adjustments on issues like roles and expectations within the family or lifestyle preferences. Communicating openly and respecting each other’s backgrounds is vital for long-term success. Acceptance from both families also eases pressures – while disapproval introduces further stressors.

Mental Health and Isolation Challenges

The strains of uncertainty, lack of control over one’s situation, and prolonged isolation from family and friends frequently impact mental well-being. Unresolved conflicts or past trauma are exacerbated under such conditions. You must take care of your wellness and support your partner through emotional difficulties together. Professional counseling may be needed.

Relationship Authenticity Doubts

Border authorities scrutinize closely for any signs the couple’s dynamics align more with arrangements of convenience rather than genuine affection. Consistently demonstrating romantic involvement as well as independent lives together helps convince case officers over multiple interviews. Skepticism often follows significant age gaps or rushed marriages too.

Successfully navigating all these dynamics requires excellent communication skills, mutual respect, adapting to change, resilience during difficulties, and access to emotional support systems. Couples who enter into this process with open eyes about the journey ahead tend to fare better in sustaining their caring bond.

Alternative Immigration Options to Consider

Marrying an Australian is by no means the only path available for those wishing to migrate permanently. Other worthwhile options to weigh are:

Skilled Independent Visas

If you have sought-after work experience or qualifications, independent skilled visas like the 189 grant permanent residency outright based on points from factors like age, English ability, education level, and employment. Processing times are generally shorter, too, compared to partner visas.

Employer-Sponsored Visas

Certain visas allow companies to directly sponsor skilled migrant hires after failing to find local candidates. This offers a pathway to residency through steady existing employment rather than relationship dependencies. Requirements vary between visa subclasses.

Business Investment Visas

Some visas provide residency for those willing to set up or purchase into qualifying business ventures in Australia, creating local jobs and economic activity. Investment amounts required are substantial but may suit certain entrepreneurial individuals or families.

Family Sponsorship

If you have close family like parents or siblings already living as permanent residents or citizens in Australia for over 10 years, you may qualify for family-sponsored visas without needing a spouse. This depends on the specific family member’s situation.

Comparing your profile, long-term goals, and circumstances carefully against various visa options helps select the approach most appropriate and practical for you. A registered migration agent can offer impartial advice on maximizing eligibility and chances of success through different immigration streams.

Risks and Realities to Understand

While marrying an Australian resident offers expedited access, it’s also a more complex route with greater risks than other pathways if the relationship ends before permanent residency is granted. Some realities to fully inform your decision:

  • Temporary visa holders face No Fault relationship breakdown provisions. If the marriage ends for any reason within the first two years, your application would likely be refused outright.
  • Even after gaining Permanent Residency, should the relationship dissolve within the first two years, your status may be reviewed or revoked if Dutton reasons strongly suggest an arrangement of convenience.
  • Australia has no official alimony or asset split laws upon marital dissolution like some other countries. Divorcing without citizenship leaves you vulnerable legally and financially.
  • Domestic violence or abusive behavior by an Australian partner against a visa holder frequently raises questions of duress or sham relationship. Leaving such a marriage risks deportation too.
  • Mental health issues or conflicts between families complicating relationships are rarely accepted justifications for relationship breakdown by authorities conducting genuineness assessments.
  • Delays or rejections in processing temporary or permanent visas, or refusals to waive health, character, or other requirements add long-term uncertainties for anyone with non-citizen status reliant on the relationship’s continuity.

Weigh these potential downsides soberly against your situation and discuss exit strategies with a migration expert if needed. Going into it with realistic contingency planning is paramount for protection should relationship difficulties arise down the track.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a number of common questions people have when considering partner visas in Australia. Here are answers to some frequently asked topics:

Is a relationship of less than two years old eligible to apply?

While uncommon, it is possible to lodge a partner visa application if your relationship is less than two years, as long as you can provide very strong proof that it is genuine and continuing. Things like living together already, having finances fully joined, and supporting statutory declarations may help in these circumstances. Case officers will subject the relationship evidence to further scrutiny, and there is a higher risk of refusal. Most couples apply once they reach the 2-year mark when evidentiary requirements are clearer.

What is considered sufficient financial support in a partner visa?

There is no fixed income threshold, but the sponsoring partner needs to show they earn above minimum wage levels through ongoing full-time employment and have assets like property in their name or a mix of both to fully support the visa applicant without relying on welfare benefits. Combined household earnings are also considered if both are working. Recent payslips, tax records, or bank statements showing the sponsor earns at least $50,000-60,000 AUD annually are normally sufficient to demonstrate financial support capacity.

How long does a partner visa typically take to process?

Processing times can vary significantly depending on the visa subclass and how straightforward the application is. On average, a Prospective Marriage visa takes around 6 months to be approved if applying from overseas. For Provisional Partner visas, the current processing estimate from within Australia is around 12-15 months, while permanent Partner visas following two years in Australia are taking approximately 9-12 months. Applications with any complexities may be longer.

What rights do I have while on a temporary partner visa in Australia?

When holding a temporary Provisional Partner visa, you have the right to live and work in Australia without restrictions. You are also eligible for Medicare, can study locally and join the skilled migrant stream if able to meet point requirements. However, you cannot access social security payments like unemployment benefits, leave the country for extended periods or become an Australian citizen until granted a permanent visa.

Can I visit my home country while a partner visa is being processed?

It is possible but not always advisable to travel internationally while a temporary or permanent partner visa application is in progress. If departing Australia, you need to inform the Department and provide evidence of compelling reasons for the trip as well as strong ties back to Australia like a returning flight booking. Extended or multiple visits overseas could potentially raise doubts about your continued relationship and commitment to residing in Australia, risking refusal. It’s best to delay major trips until after residency is granted if possible.

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