It can come as quite a shock to Australians when they first apply for an Australian Tourist Visa or Australian Partner Visa for their Filipina girlfriend (or fiancée or wife) when they realise it’s not just a formality. It’s so easy for Aussies to go to most countries. Most don’t require visas at all, and those that do? Usually just a few questions, and you get a sticker in the passport. Easy stuff. Philippines? You arrive and you can stay for 30 days. If you want to get the visa extended, it’s easy.
Why is it hard to get a visa to Australia?
It’s fairly easy for people from affluent countries to get into Australia. They still need visas, but they’re almost a formality. However from the developing world countries like the Philippines, they take a different approach. Why? My standard response is to say if Filipinos could come to Australia without visas (or with “just a formality” visas), then the country would be nearly empty by about this time next week!
The Philippines is a poor country. That’s a fact. Whilst there is a sector of the country who are doing fairly well, there are a lot more who struggle. Jobs are hard to get. Wages are low. Government services are limited. For many, the chance to live in Australia appears to be the answer to all their problems. The chances of living and working in Australia, even if that means living and working under the radar picking fruit or cleaning or working on building sites for a few years, this could mean a great deal.
What this means to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is that they have to scrutinise applicants very carefully, because the value of the opportunity is very high to a lot of people. And a lot of people will be prepared to lie and cheat in order to get what they want. Their job is to guard the borders, and that means they need to demand a great deal from visa applicants and they need to be very suspicious.
So should you take it personally? Definitely not!
People DO get offended. Why do they think she will overstay? Why do they think she has no reason to return? Why are they treating us like criminals? I sent them a nice letter saying I will pay and she will return, yet they still refused the visa! Surely they can see……..? Surely they will understand…….? The fact is, they don’t know you. They don’t know your Filipina lady. She may be a scam-artist and you may be a gullible fool. They will deal with that combination of people all the time, probably every day. They can’t read minds, and can only go off what they see in your application.
So therefore it’s your job, or the job of the Registered Migration Agent who prepares your application, to present your case as clearly as possible so that they can see you are NOT the scam-artist and gullible fool! We must prove to them that the visa applicant has a genuine intention to visit Australia for the purposes allowed under the particular visa that you are applying for. If it’s an Australian Tourist Visa, they want to see that she will do tourist-things, and will then return. For an Australian Prospective Marriage Visa, they want to see that she has a genuine relationship with the Australian sponsor and intends to marry him and that they will stay together.