Bar Girls in the Philippines and visas


Meet your Filipina lady in a bar? Maybe in Angeles City or Olongapo? Or one of the bars in Ermita, or P. Burgos St in Makati or elsewhere? And she was a bar girl or GRO (Guest Relations Officer)?

Groom suddenly realising his new wife is a prostitute.


Is this going to be a problem with the Australian Embassy and the Department of Immigration (DIBP)? Can you still apply for an Australian Partner Visa or Tourist Visa for her?

And will Down Under Visa turn up their noses at you?

Stand by for the long answer…..


Firstly, US migration rules have restrictions preventing prostitutes or those guilty of “moral turpitude” from getting visas. This is part of American thinking. Send kids off to be killed over oil in the Middle East, but censor out nipples on TV. Keep up the image of being a moral society despite the obvious contrary facts.

Australia does not! Yes, there are restrictions in the Regulations when an applicant has done significant jail time, and where they have good reason to think an applicant is a threat to Australian society, but no they don’t care if a girl has worked in a bar.


What’s the story with Filipina bar girls?

Firstly, I’m not and never have been a client. Yes, I’ve been to Angeles City (it’s actually a great place to get Aussie pies and Aussie-style pork sausages and really good bacon), and I have visited bars there out of curiosity. And I’ve chatted to bar girls.


What did I find?


Nearly all of them that I spoke to came from Samar. This is probably the poorest province in the Philippines, and the lure of comparatively easy money is strong. This is a tough country to make a good living in when you are poor to start with and poorly educated, and where you have a choice between working in a bar and planting rice by hand. They are not there in order to feed drug habits. You would find that most of what they earn would be sent back to their families so they can put their siblings through to college. To me? They were OK, and just trying to make life bearable for their families.

And I’m sure that most of these girls are dreaming of the day that Prince Charming comes in (white horse parked out the front of the bar) and takes them away from all of that, and they get to be a wife and mum. And yes, they do meet men and they do fall in love and yes they can and do go on to become great wives and mums. Are they all wonderful? No, of course not. Some will have emotional damage and will have difficulty in making and holding onto a sincere and monogamous relationship (like many in the rest of the world). Be aware of this, and use your best judgement. Thus ends Jeff Harvie’s opinion!


What matters to the Australian Embassy and for Australian visa applications?

Interestingly, what matters to the Australian Embassy in Manila is what also should matter to you. They want to see proof that the partner visa applicant is in a genuine relationship with you the sponsor, and that this is why she wants the partner visa. They want to be sure that this is not a relationship of convenience or a marriage of convenience, and that she isn’t using the visa simply as a way to get into Australia.

So if your relationship IS a genuine relationship, then you should have plenty of evidence to support this. There should be history and there should be substance that anyone can see. If you can see that it’s genuine, and if your friends and family can see that it’s genuine, then chances are the Embassy Case Officer will see the same thing. However if you are “thinking with the wrong head” or if you are rushing in due to loneliness and desperation, then this will show up too. If you’re not 100% sure, then wait a few more months. Marriages should last a very long time, and therefore a bit more of a wait isn’t too much to ask.


Will there be a stigma in Australia?

Yes, there probably will be, especially in the Australian Filipino community. But it’s your relationship, and it’s none of their business. Don’t feed the small-minded with food for the gossip machine. Give yourselves a chance.


Filed under Australian Visa Applications, Character Requirements, Fiance Visas, Partner Visas - Onshore, Relationship Issues, Tourist Visas

5 responses to “Bar Girls in the Philippines and visas

  1. Peter

    Your best blog to date and very true!


  2. steve Leonard

    All of your blogs make interesting reading and contain pertinent information, well done and keep up the good work,I look forward to reading them …Steve,L.

  3. Excellent advice, Jeff. While there are scammers out there, I am sure the majority of women working in bars are there for the reasons you mentioned and are only too keen to get into a regular relationship, get married and have kids and live the happily ever after thing. I have known many couples who met originally via a commercial arrangement and are now into their second, third or even fourth decade together. I also know blokes who married ‘good girls’ from ‘good families’ who never went out on a ‘barfine’ in their lives and yet their marriages are either very unhappy or completely over.

    The advice about proving the relationship is genuine is solid. I met my wife when she was selling Halo-Halo in SM Mall food court and by the time I applied for a visa to bring her to Australia we had two kids and several years together, married, in the Pinas. We had the joint bank accounts, the tons of photos and statements from my parents, our friends and so on. Bottom line, they issued her a permanent resident visa right off the bat, saving us two years on temporary. I think genuine relationships are not difficult to prove, but faking one is. After all, the Embassy see applications every day and they’re not stupid, they can spot the ‘iffy’ ones.

    • You’re not wrong there, Perry. We put through over 300 visa applications per year and we get sharper as the years go on, but the Embassy puts through thousands. And I would guess that the sounder and more intelligent of the applicants go through Registered Migration Agents such as ourselves. I would say they would get stuff that would make your hair curl. I warn people that the Embassy staff are the final step, and they’re not easy to sneak past.

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