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Transitioning between substantive visas: know your options

The Applicant sought the help of Immigration Solutions Lawyers to lodge a Partner visa (subclasses 820 and 801). Although her Student visa was still valid, the Applicant advised that she no longer wished to continue studying and would therefore like to transition to a Partner visa to remain in Australia with her partner, an Australian citizen.

The Applicant met her partner while she was in Australia on a Working Holiday visa. The two entered into a relationship shortly afterwards and commenced cohabitation one month after her Student visa was granted.

When the Applicant approached Immigration Solutions Lawyers, her Student visa still had 16 months remaining before expiry. A typical Subclass 820 application takes between 12 and 15 months to process. With a tuition fee deadline looming, the Applicant had to choose between remaining on the Student visa until the possible grant of a Partner visa, or risk becoming unlawful and applying for a Bridging visa while awaiting the Department’s decision on the partner visa. Immigration Solutions Lawyers provided detailed advice regarding the implications of each of these options.

Choosing to remain on the Student visa would require that the Applicant pay tuition fees and continue studying. Failing this, the Applicant could apply for an extension to pay the fees. Payment of tuition fees is a condition of the Student visa. In the event that the tuition fees remain unpaid without university authorisation, the school would advise the Department of the Applicant’s non-compliance and the Student visa cancellation process would commence.

Before cancellation, the Department would offer the Applicant the opportunity to provide sufficient compelling reasons not to cancel the visa. Without compelling reasons, the visa would be cancelled and the Applicant would have to apply for a Bridging Visa E (BVE) or risk being in Australia unlawfully. This option carries considerable risks, as there is no guarantee a Bridging visa would be granted and the Applicant would need to make a further application to change the “no work” condition typically imposed on a BVE if she intended to work in Australia.

On the advice of Immigration Solutions Lawyers, the Applicant ultimately chose to remain on the Student visa pending the approval of a Partner visa. After compiling evidence of the ongoing and genuine nature of the relationship between the Applicant and her partner, Immigration Solutions Lawyers was able to secure a favourable outcome within 12 months.

Click here to read more about Immigration Solutions Lawyers and Anne O’Donoghue.

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