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Australian Immigration Laws on Mail Order Brides

International Love Scout has had a significance audience in Australia since the site was launched because mail order brides are popular in Australia. There are a couple of reasons why this is the case.  First, is geography.  Australia is extremely close to Asia, but the second is cultural. 

Australian men are often iconoclasts.  Many actually are the descendants of British convicts and they often exhibit a strongly independent streak. 

At the same time Australia has been washed over by left wing feminists, who perhaps are iconoclasts of their own type, and for many Australian men a foreign bride is simply less trouble. 

In many cases, because of geography, they pursue Asian brides.

Australia is still viewed as being one of the better countries to live in because of its sheer size and the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens.

Its location in the Indian and Pacific Oceans means it welcomes a lot of immigrants from throughout the region, including several hundred new e-brides every single week - they're referred to as e-brides here rather than mail order brides.

Like most developed countries, Australia has to deal with its own fair share of "marriages of convenience", which means that Australian immigration laws are strict even when compared to other countries like the United States with tight immigration enforcement and a world away from immigration havens like Canada.

These stipulations only exist for one sole purpose: To prevent marriage being used as a convenient way for a woman from another country to gain entry to Australia.

How To Sponsor Your Fiancée or Spouse

The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two different types of "spousal visa" available to any woman looking to move to Australia to either be with her husband, or to reside there until she gets married.

man signing marriage certificate

Prospective Marriage Visa

As the name implies this visa (subclass 300) allows your fiancée to enter Australia to marry you, but you must already have met them, your fiancée must be of the opposite sex, and you must apply for this visa when you are not currently residing in Australia i.e. you must be overseas. You also must be living in Australia when your visa is granted.

The visa itself permits you to enter the country for up to nine months, and you must get married in within that timeframe.

Once you are married you also need to apply for a subclass 820 Partner Visa before your subclass 300 visa expires.

You obviously need to be 18 years old when applying for the visa, and you cannot be related to your partner in any way.

Your sponsor must be a citizen or permanent resident of either Australia or New Zealand, and must also be at least 18 years of age on the date the visa is applied for.

Anyone already married to another person cannot apply for this visa, and you must also not owe any money to the Australian government, including any outstanding healthcare debts.

Another key element of the application process is that you pass the "Character requirements", which include not having any criminal convictions, or that you pose a risk to Australia or its citizens, but we cover this in more detail later on.

The Prospective Marriage visa allows you to live, work and study in Australia, but you cannot receive any form of financial assistance for your education.

You are also permitted to leave and return to the country as often as you wish once you've been granted a subclass 300 visa.

Visas of this type typically take up to 18 months to be approved, but that timeframe can be extended if you fail to provide the required documentation - including health checks and biometric data - when requested to do so.

The health check information you are required to provide will include information from any country you've resided in for more than 12 months within the last ten years.

You should also be aware of the fees associated with a Prospective Marriage visa, which start from $7,000.

There's no information available as to why this visa costs so much money, which is why it's often referred to as a "love tax".

Prospective Marriage Visa Interviews

If the Department of Immigration is not satisfied with your application, for any reason, they may call both you and your partner to appear for an interview.

This usually only happens when they feel that marriage fraud has taken place, and that your spouse is using your marriage to gain entry to the country.

There is the possibility that you would be interviewed separately, done in an effort to make sure that both you and your partner can independently answer the same questions when asked.

Failure to pass this interview will result in your subclass 300 visa application being declined or cancelled.

Australian Immigration Visa

Partner Visa

If you are already married to an Australian citizen, or have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months with that same person, then you cannot apply for a Prospective Marriage license, for obvious reasons.

A de facto relationship means that you are living and behaving as a married couple, but without the actual paperwork.

There are two basic types of Partner visa.

The first of these is the 820 visa, which is a temporary visa allowing you to live in Australia with your husband or fiancé.

It can take up to 25 months for an 820 visa application to be processed, so always take this into consideration before applying.

Unlike the subclass 300, you must be physically resident in Australia when you apply for a subclass 820 visa.

There is no expiration date on an 820 - it remains effective until a decision has been reached on your application for a subclass 801 visa.

You are permitted to travel outside Australia on your subclass 820 visa, study but without any government financial support, and you are also eligible to receive over 500 hours of English language lessons, completely free of charge.

The 801 is your Permanent Partner visa, which you can and should apply for the moment you're granted your 820 visa.

It typically takes anywhere from 16 to 22 months for a Permanent Partner application to be processed.

Any couple who can prove they've been in a long-term relationship may be able to bypass the wait for an 801 visa, but only if they've been together for more than three years and/or have kids together.

You must still be able to provide required health examination documentation, and pass the "character requirements" as you would if you were applying for a Prospective marriage visa - these requirements are consistent across Australian immigration laws.

If you've had a previous visa application declined, or your visa was cancelled, you cannot apply for a subclass 820 document.

The cost of applying for an 820 or 801 visa is at least $7,000.

If, however, you already possess a Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa, then the application fee is reduced to $1,170.

You Might Be Asked To Present Evidence

Your undying love for each other won't enough to convince the Department of Immigration that you're a legitimate couple.

Documentation and evidence you might be asked for include financial, co-habitation and social evidence.

Typical examples of these include a joint bank account, utility bills in your or your partners name, a property lease in both your names, or a car loan in both your names.

You can upload new evidence as part of your application once it becomes available to you

healthy checkup

Health Checks Are Mandatory

Both you and your wife/fiancée must be able to pass health examinations, even if your partner’s children aren't moving to Australia with her.

The reason for this is that the Department of Immigration is trying to prevent anyone from entering the country who might then add to the burden on the country’s healthcare system.

You must declare all medical issues on your visa application, as well as providing any supporting documentation requested of you.

If you're worried about minor medical conditions such as asthma becoming an immigration issue, then don't be - the application process is attempting to screen people with serious medical conditions such as blood-borne diseases or certain forms of cancer.

Who Can Sponsor A Foreign Bride?

To sponsor your foreign bride or fiancée you must be a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, and either married to the person or in a relationship with them i.e. you have met them before they travel to Australia.

You must also be at least 18 years of age, and be capable of meeting the following character requirements, as set out by the Migration Act of 1958:

  • Not have served 12 months in prison, including any suspended sentences
  • Not be a member of any criminal organization, or actively involved in criminal activity
  • Not have been involved in people smuggling at any level
  • Not be guilty of any war crimes
  • Not pose a risk to Australia or its citizens
  • Not be guilty of any sexual offenses, especially those involving a child
  • Not be under the scrutiny of Australian security intelligence or Interpol
  • Not owe any money to the Australian government, especially healthcare debt

Women Who Can't Be Sponsored

Any women entering the country must also be free of any criminal history, including prison sentences, drug trafficking, people trafficking, being involved in organized crime of any kind, not pose a threat to Australia or its culture, and not have had a previous visa cancelled.

Having a previous visa cancelled also includes overstaying their previous visa allowance, and being deported as a result.

Certain types of criminal activity, especially older crimes, can be appealed - the Department of Immigration understands that everyone can make a mistake, and that sometimes it needs to be overlooked to allow you a fresh start in life.

If you need further information on the regulations and requirements for either of the above visas please visit the website of the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.