What Can You Do If Your Girlfriend, Fiancé or Wife’s Australian Visa Application is Refused?

Every foreign national needs a visa to enter Australia. For people from most countries, even for a Tourist visa, applicants are required to fill in a paper application and submit supporting documentation. This includes countries like Thailand, the Philippines, India and mainland China.

What Can You Do If Your Girlfriend, Fiancé or Wife’s Australian Visa Application is Refused?


Australian’s that have a girlfriend, fiancé etc. from another country will often want to bring them over to Australia for a visit or on a permanent basis. Sometimes they will not use the services of a qualified Migration Agent to assist them with the application and many of these applications are refused. Evidence shows that over 50% of self prepared applications fail. This is understandable as Australian migration law is very complicated and there is a long list of strict guidelines for each visa category. In this article I will discuss what you can do if you have applied for a Tourist or permanent relationship based visa and it has been refused.


If, for example, your girlfriend’s Tourist visa has been refused there is unfortunately no appeal allowed. All one can do is look at the decision record and try to understand the reasons for the refusal. This can often be a difficult exercise as the terms of the refusal are often written in broad terms and do not necessarily go into great detail. There is no restriction to lodging a new application, but unless you are sure why the visa was refused it may be pointless to submit a new application. Furthermore, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) strongly recommends that applicants do not submit a new application unless their circumstances have changed from the time of their last application. This effectively means that the bar is raised when you make a second application. Their thinking being that if they did not grant a visa the first time why would they grant a visa when nothing has changed. This highlights the importance of getting it right the first time.


If we are talking about a permanent visa like a Partner visa then the situation is different. If an application is refused there is usually a right of appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT). The MRT is a statutory body which provides a final independent merits review of the visa decisions made by DIAC. The legal criteria and procedure for the MRT’s operation and decision making are complicated, but to put it simply, the MRT has the right to consider the matter afresh and has the power to change the original decision, but unless clear error can be shown to have been made by the decision maker, the appeal may not succeed. Decision makers are given fairly wide discretion in making their findings and as long as any decision made within some aspect of the application is within the guidelines, that original decision may stand. There is also a substantial application fee and strict time limits for applying.


Obviously, it is far better if one never has to get to the stage of having to appeal to the MRT. It can be a time consuming and costly exercise, and that we why we always highlight the importance of getting the application right the first time.


A skilled and experienced Migration Agent can assist you with your visa refusal in many ways. He or she can look at and analyse why the visa application was refused in the first place. Maybe there was some documentation lacking, maybe the application was not structured correctly or maybe the applicant does not fit some of the selection criteria. Your Migration Agent can then advise on how to address the concerns show by DIAC and help you to structure a new application that has a high chance of success.


Migration to another country is a serious business and time and time again the statistics show that in the long run, using a qualified Migration Agent saves time, effort, money and most of all heartache. So while we strongly recommend coming to us in the first place, if you do decide to go it alone and then fail please contact us ASAP so we can get you back onto the right track – the track to a successful application.

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