A Partner visa allows the spouse or partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live and work in Australia.
There are various visa subclasses. The visas you choose will depend on the length of your relationship and whether you are in or outside of Australia. You can read more about the visa options in our earlier blog post here.
Although Partner visas provide an excellent pathway to Australian residence, they can also add additional pressure on a relationship due to the dependence on sponsorship. Should a relationship break down, there are ramifications for the Partner visa holder.
Partner visas and relationship breakdowns
The impact a break down in a relationship will have on your Australia residency status will depend on which stage of the Partner visa process you are in. Broadly speaking, once you have obtained permanent residence, a relationship break down will not impact your status in Australia (unless it is discovered that you were not in a genuine relationship or that you have provided false or misleading information).
However, should your relationship break down prior to your permanent visa grant, in most cases you will have your visa cancelled and be expected to depart Australia (or obtain a further visa).
Relationship breakdown prior to temporary visa grant
Should your relationship break down before your temporary visa is granted, your temporary visa cannot be granted unless either or both of these circumstances apply:
- your relationship with your Australian partner has ended (since the temporary visa application was made) solely because the Australian partner has died; or
- your relationship with your Australian partner has ended since the temporary visa application was made and family violence has occurred or access rights to children are involved.
These exceptions to grant a visa do not apply to offshore Partner visas.
Relationship breakdown prior to permanent visa grant
Should your relationship break down following your temporary visa grant, but prior to your permanent visa, you will not be granted your permanent visa unless either of these circumstances apply:
- the Australian partner dies and you would have continued to be the spouse or de facto partner of the Australian partner if they had not died and you have developed close business, cultural or personal ties in Australia;
- you and / or a dependent child have suffered family violence committed by the sponsor; or
- you have custody or access rights over a child for whom the Australian partner has custody/access rights and/or maintenance obligations;
Ordinarily, your ex-partner or a third person would notify the Department of Home Affairs (Department) that your relationship has broken down, and you will receive correspondence from a Delegate asking you to comment on the information it has received that your relationship has broken down.
The correspondence will ordinarily allow you 28 days to respond to the allegations that your relationship has ended. If you are unable to convince the Department that your relationship continues to be genuine, or that you meet one of the circumstances above, the Department would ordinarily take steps to cancel your visa.
Hannan Tew recognises the difficulties involved in migrating to Australia and the anxiety involved in a relationship breakdown particularly when it impacts your residency status. Feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone (03) 9016 0484 or (02) 8005 1484 for a confidential chat and further information in relation to your residency status.