27 July 2009

Spousal knowledge test intensifies for Australian visa

Each year in Australia hundreds of overseas-born spouses are being deported each year after failing partner knowledge tests.

Australian Spouse Visa

Due to the rapid increase in Australian Spouse Visa applications, the Government has increased efforts to discover sham marriages and partnerships.

Australian authorities have intensified efforts to discover sham marriages after a surge in spouse visa applications.

The Immigration Department said a special unit would assess whether relationships were genuine and deserving of the Australian Spouse Visa.

During the process suspect couples are interviewed separately about their lives together.

Questions include asking them for the floor plan of the house they are supposed to live together or what they did to celebrate past birthdays. Or what they gave each other for Christmas or Ramadan.

Around 40,000 Australian visas were issued to married and de facto spouses in 2007-08, up from 26,000 a decade ago.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship's Bona Fides Unit investigated more than 1150 couples that year and about 220 Australian partner visas were cancelled after holes emerged in couples' stories. Another 3146 Australian visa applications were rejected outright.

Mr Logan said a two-stage visa process was used to deter rorters.

Partner visas are first issued for two years and couples must prove their relationship is genuine and ongoing for permanent residency to be granted after the temporary Australian visa expires.

Australia has same-sex equality laws that mean gay and lesbian partners of Australian citizens are also eligible for an Australian Interdependency visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with Australian visas and immigration

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