At Down Under Visa we do most of our Australian Partner Visa applications here in Manila, and we would lodge far more Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visas (commonly known as the Fiancée Visa) than partner visas. Most people prefer the convenience of knowing they can organise the wedding at their leisure over a 9 month period than trying to rush it through before a tourist visa runs out.
The main issue? Lack of time!
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a tough ask to organise a wedding plus a visa application in a 3 month period, especially when the Filipina applicant is struggling with a new country and her Australian sponsor is probably having to go to work every day. And you have a time limit before that tourist visa runs out, otherwise she ends up unlawful (or as an illegal alien as they used to say).
So what problems can result from this?
Running short of time can mean lodging an application before it’s ready. Never a good idea. Act in haste, and repent at leisure. It could lead to serious mistakes and omissions of important information, or it could lead to a fairly poor application with very little evidence of your relationship. This could lead to a refusal.
If an applicant lodges an onshore visa (onshore means lodged in Australia) in plenty of time, then once their existing visa (eg. a tourist visa) runs out (and the partner visa hasn’t been granted yet) they go onto a Bridging Visa A.
A bridging visa is just that. It’s a bridge between one visa and another. It keeps the person lawfully inside Australia so they’re not at risk of removal (deportation). An applicant with a Bridging Visa A may remain in Australia, but if they leave the country they may not return again on that visa.
A few years ago we had a lady in a de facto relationship now inside Australia. Tourist visa with no Condition 8503, so we applied for a partner visa. We prepared it and applied, and she was happily waiting for it. In the meantime her 4 year old son was still overseas.
Grandad’s house was being renovated. Young fellah falls from a balcony. Mum gets on the first plane out of Australia to be with her son. She had no way of returning, so she was stuck overseas. Tried to get a tourist visa, which was refused. Why? Because it was not a “genuine application” in that she clearly had no intention to leave Australia at the end of the tourist visa period.
See what can happen?
Recently we had another couple who decided whilst on a tourist visa to marry and apply in Australia. We got on with it and the application was lodged in time, as fortunately they had done most of the work before she left Philippines. Yes, we DO lodge applications inside Australia too.
Problem was they had already booked her outgoing flight, along with a seat for him as they intended spending Christmas together. However the Bridging Visa A will come into effect AFTER the tourist visa expires, which will be after the date of the return flight!
So if she leaves Australia, she will have a tough job getting back in!
Bridging Visa B
If you need to travel whilst on a Bridging Visa A, you may apply for a Bridging Visa B. You may apply for this based on your travel plans. If they grant it, the applicant may travel and return again. And each time they wish to travel, they need to apply for one. No Bridging Visa B, and you can’t return. This is what happened to our first example, and our second example could not apply for one at all. More headaches!
So think carefully?