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Overstayed visa by 20 years - visa granted

The applicant was in a de-facto relationship with an Australian citizen and wished to apply for an 820 (de facto) partner visa. Generally, a couple is required to have lived together for at least 12 months in order to qualify for this visa, however this couple did not meet this requirement.

We argued that the 12 month requirement should be waived due to compelling and compassionate circumstances. These circumstances were that the sponsor had severe psychological problems, which developed after the unusual and sudden disappearance of her former husband. We explained that the sponsor was severely depressed and largely reliant upon the applicant for support, and to separate them would cause great hardship upon the sponsor.

This argument was accepted and the applicant was granted the visa.The applicants were husband and wife originally from the UK. They initially arrived in Australia on Visitor visas. Prior to the expiry of their visas, they sought advice from a migration agent regarding working legally in Australia. The migration agent told them that they needed a Tax File Number in order to work; however, the applicants mistakenly believed that their TFNs would satisfy visa requirements also. The applicants were happily living and working in Australia until almost 20 years later when they were contacted by Compliance and told that they were to be deported.

This case was eventually heard before the Minister. We argued that the applicants had been mistaken about the initial advice given by the migration agent. Even though the couple had suspicions that all was not right with their visa, they didn’t report themselves to the authorities for fear of detention and separation from one another.

We highlighted how, after almost 20 years in Australia, they had little ties left in the UK save for family, and their social and friends networks were completely based in Sydney. We also highlighted the couple’s significant contribution to the Australian community; the couple had established an organization which provided training for disadvantaged Australians to gain skills to obtain employment.

The Minister accepted these arguments as unique and exceptional circumstances and granted the couple permanent residencies.

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