Reuniting Migrant Partners Of Australian Citizens And Permanent Residents
It’s been several months since borders around the world have been closed to international visitors including Australia’s borders. However, there are some exceptions. We list the various groups of people who are able to obtain an exemption to travel to Australia and explain how you can do this.
Can I get an exemption to travel to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Currently more than 25,000 Australians are stuck overseas, locked out by the strict travel restrictions. The number of family members and partners of Australian citizens and permanent residents separated from their families under the existing entry bans also remains exceptionally high.
For partners of Australian citizens of permanent residents hoping to come to Australia, they must apply for a travel exemption. Before making an application, the Department generally requires that the applicant (the family member of the Australian citizen or permanent resident) hold a substantive visa. Importantly, if you already hold a partner visa (subclasses 100, 309, 801, or 820), or a child visa (subclasses 101, 102, or 445), you will be automatically exempt and will not need to apply for a travel exemption.
In making an application for a travel exemption, the Department requires the applicant to submit substantive evidence in support of their need to travel to Australia. The key prioritization of the Department of Home Affairs in maintaining these strict entry requirements is to protect the Australian community against potential threats to public health.
When making their assessment, the Department will consider the level and nature of the applicant’s integration into Australia, the length of the time they have already spent in Australia, as well as any adverse information regarding the applicant’s criminal history or previous visas they have held. They will also consider the impact the separation is having on the Australian citizen or permanent resident.
People eligible for an exemption to travel to Australia
If you are the partner of an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you wish to enter Australia, you will need to apply for your travel exemption under the family member category. According to the Migration Regulations, a member of the ‘immediate family’ includes a spouse or de facto partner. Under the Migration Act, to demonstrate the existence of an exclusive, genuine and continuing de facto relationship, you must provide evidence that you have a mutual commitment to shared life to the exclusion of all others. You must also show that your relationship is genuine and continuing, and you are generally required to have been living together. However, where the applicant and their Australian partner have lived separately for some time, for example due to the travel restrictions inhibiting their ability to travel to Australia, there are ways to nevertheless demonstrate the genuineness of the relationship.
The Migration Policy indicates that the officer’s assessment of a relationship must not be based solely on a comparison of how many factors listed in the Regulations are satisfied against how many are not. Rather, it involves a consideration of each individual relationship against all of the relevant factors.
Travel restrictions and travel exemptions
There are several kinds of documents which can help show that your relationship is genuine and continuing, ranging from shared travel history and photos together, to a joint bank account and shared lease agreements. Ultimately, each relationship is unique, and the decision maker must have regard to all of the relevant information provided by the applicant in assessing whether or not a de facto relationship exists.
In addition to assessing whether your relationship is genuine and continuing, the decision maker may also consider any compelling and compassionate circumstances relevant to your situation.
The travel exemption portal restricts applications to a maximum of five documents. No Borders can help you to assess the most important documents which will best demonstrate the genuineness of your relationship.
Once you have submitted your travel exemption request, the Department will review the nature of your situation and make a determination as to whether or not to grant you the travel exemption.
The Department approved my travel exemption request! What’s next?
Once you have arrived in Australia, No Borders can support you to apply for an onshore partner visa. Several of the documents required for your travel exemption request would also be required for a partner visa application. This means that you will already be ahead of the game in terms of being prepared to submit your partner visa application once you arrive in Australia.
The Department refused my travel exemption request. Where do I go from here?
If the Department refuses your travel exemption request, do not be disheartened. While there is no review process available for refusal of your request, the application for a travel exemption itself is free, and there is no cap on the amount of times one applicant can apply. At No Borders, we have seen upwards of 10 applications filed by a client, before obtaining a positive assessment of their travel exemption request.
What other options are available for me?
If you are concerned that you will not be eligible for a travel exemption request but still want to get things underway to lay down the foundations for a future in Australia with your Australian partner, No Borders can also support you to apply for an offshore partner visa.
In the meantime, your Australian partner can also apply to leave Australia in order to visit you. To do so, they must demonstrate compelling reasons to depart for a period of more than three months.
Travel exemption requests – whether inbound or outbound – have been found to be quite challenging to satisfy. However, with the help and support of the talented and experienced lawyers at No Borders, we can assist you with this process.
How do I apply for permission to travel to Australia?
NO BORDERS: #1 TRUSTED MIGRATION AGENTS
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +61 (07) 3876 4000
We will help you exploring visa options and securing application. No Borders Migration is experienced in the migration and partner visa application, and our lawyers have extensive knowledge in the legal requirements, eligibility criteria, and the supporting documents required. Simply dial 07 3876 4000 or email: [email protected] and let us help you start wtih your way towards obtaining partner visas.
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