Taking your Filipino wife to Australia
If you are an Australian and you have married a woman from the Philippines then unless you are thinking of moving to the Philippines you will probably want to bring her out to Australia to live with you. Probably the best option would be to apply for what is called a Partner visa. To prepare the application is a complex and lengthy process and both you and she would both need to satisfy a number of criteria. However, if she and you both qualify it is a great visa to have. It will allow your Filipino wife to come and go from Australia and the Philippines as she pleases, it will give her full work rights, give her access to Medicare(the Australian public health care system),and it will eventually lead to Permanent Residency (PR) if the relationship is maintained over a period of time.
Even if you are going to live in the Philippines together you might want to travel to Australia from time to time. You could look at a Tourist visa, but you would have to obtain that for her each time you wanted to travel to Australia together. And to compound this inconvenience, there is a limit with respect to how many Tourist visas the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) will grant per person, and there is also a limit to how much time the Australian Government will allow someone to remain in Australia on a ETA visa.
To determine whether a Filipino qualifies for a Partner visa,Immigration (DOHA) looks at her relationship with you, her the Australian partner. You would effectively become her ‘Sponsor’ and in doing do you are offering to support her in a number of aspects. DOHA looks your relationship carefully – a marriage certificate in itself carries very little weight unless it is supported by evidence of a genuine and continuing relationship.
Immigration also looks at her health and the health of any dependents. It examines her character, including any criminal or political history or tendencies. As mentioned above, DOHA is concerned with her financial position or your ability as her sponsor to provide her with that financial support. It is always advisable to plan a long way in advance because the preparation process is lengthy and demanding, and the processing time is usually anywhere from 1-2 years. Having the assistance of a skilled and experienced Migration Agent for such a serious and complicated visa is highly recommended. A high percentage of self-prepared applications either experience significant delays of months or years, or are refused, leaving you and your Filipino partner in a very difficult position. However, if you both qualify, and if an application is prepared carefully the chance of success is usually very high. The Partner visa is a great visa for your Filipino wife and it can provide important options that would otherwise be unavailable. It can help you two to achieve the lifestyle you two choose, whatever that may be.
Australian Partner visa (by marriage) for Filipino wife
I recently had an inquiry from an Australian man living in Manila who wanted a Partner visa for his Filipino wife of 5 years. They had been living together in the Philippines for over 3 years but had now decided that is was best for them to move to Australia on a permanent basis. His health was deteriorating and he felt it important to return to Australia and avail himself of his right to use Medicare and so avoid significant medical bills in the Philippines.So he approached me for professional Australian migration advice and visa assistance in order to put this plan into action.
As he is legally married to his Filipino wife, the correct pathway for her to migrate to Australia was a Partner visa. A Partner visa is a pathway for coupes that are either married or in a de facto relationship.
Where can I apply for an Australian Partner visa?
Once we got started, our client wanted to know what the best option was for applying for the Partner visa – could and should they apply in the Philippines, or in Australia? I explained to him that the answer to this question not only depended on their circumstances and what best suited their situation, but also whether they were eligible to apply and meet the criteria. While we had determined that both she and the sponsor met the criteria for the grant of a Partner visa, because she was located in the Philippines she needed to apply for the Partner visa in the Philippines.
Considering the above, and speaking logistically and practically, this meant that the Applicant would need to be outside of Australia, both at the time of submission of the application, and at the time of the decision. Then taking into account the processing time, which can now be up to 2 years, if she wants to spend time with her husband during this period she would need to apply for and be granted an Australian Visitor visa.
As alluded to above, at the present time, when it comes to Partner visa applications, the processing times are very lengthy – whether it be an offshore or onshore application. As our client needed to return to Australia ASAP, this created a real issue about his wife being able to join him in Australia. Neither of them wanted the extra expense of having to apply for Visitor visas and flights to and from the Philippines for what could be up to 2 years.
Was there a solution?
Yes. On our clients behalf we submitted a Visitor visa application for her under the tourist stream. Included in this application were lengthy and detailed legal submissions written by us, which addressed the applicant’s special circumstances with reference to the criteria for the grant of a Visitor visa and the Migration Act and Regulations. Among other things, the submissions outlined the applicant’s prior visa compliance (she had traveled to Australia on 2 previous occasions, as well as to other jurisdictions). It was our plan to submit a very thorough and solid application covering all of the criteria in order to allow the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) to make a favorable decision to grant her the Visitor visa.
A decision was made and our client was granted a 12 month multiple entry Visitor visa with stays of up to 3 months at a time permitted. This was a great result for the client. However, furthermore and more significantly, the condition 8503 – ‘no further stay’ was not attached to her visa, as is normally the case. This then allowed us to take the very favorable step of now being able to apply for her Partner visa while she was still in Australia. Now the married couple could remain together in Australia while her Partner visa is processing. This was a massive win for our client.