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Review of a refused Partner Visa: issues with genuineness in relationship.

The applicant was a German citizen who had been in Australia on a Subclass 820 partner visa with his then-wife, an Australian citizen. Unfortunately, his relationship with his wife broke down and the two separated. A month later, the applicant began a relationship with the sponsor, a New Zealand citizen.

The applicant waited one year before informing the Department of the dissolution of his previous relationship and the existence of his relationship with the sponsor. He applied for an 820 (De facto) Partner Visa based on his de facto relationship with his sponsor. The application was refused because the Department was not satisfied that the couple was in a genuine de facto relationship. The matter was brought before the MRT on appeal. Our firm assisted the applicant with the review.

In our submission, we argued that despite the fact that the applicant entered into the relationship with the sponsor soon after the dissolution of his marriage, the relationship was genuine and continuing. We argued that though the relationship did not meet the 12 month cohabitation requirement, there were compassionate and compelling circumstances which warranted the waiver of this requirement.

We pointed to the sponsor’s physical and emotional reliance on the applicant due to her poor physical health. The sponsor suffered from severe abdominal pains which were the cause of ongoing medical investigation. She also had a serious neck injury which prevented her from lifting anything weighing above five kilograms. The sponsor also presented some symptoms of depression and anxiety. We argued that the ongoing and relatively severe nature of the limitations on the sponsor led to her developing a strong reliance on the visa applicant on a physical and emotional level.

 The Tribunal accepted these arguments and found that, due to the existence of compelling reasons, the applicant and the sponsor were in a de facto relationship. The matter was remitted for reconsideration.

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