Why Do Australian Visa Applications Fail?

Why Do so many Visa Applications Fail?

If you’re looking for information on a tourist visa, a fiancee visa, or a partner visa to Australia, and you’re wondering why so many DIY applications fail, and what they specifically fail on, you’re not alone. Many men doing their girlfriend’s or partner’s visas ask the same thing, and, more importantly, how they can do their own applications and make sure they are successful the first time.

Our  qualified and experienced, Australian Migration Agent gives us his opinion on why he thinks so many Australian applications fail.

A Qualified, Migration Agent Speaks

I’m an Australian Migration Agent, and I only deal with Partner Migration, which means that I know this area of the law inside and out. With over 10 years experience in this business I have seen many cases and have had numerous clients come to me wanting to bring their Thai girlfriend, or their Indonesian wife, or their Chinese partner back home with them. (Please note that although I generally refer to you and your Thai ‘girlfriend’ as the applicants in this report, I am merely saying this as a shortcut because in most applicants that is the case. Please don’t think, because you are interested in bring your Chinese husband back that this information doesn’t relate to you.) You can substitute the word ‘girlfriend’ for boyfriend, parent, spouse, husband or wife, if that applies to your situation, and the information contained within stands true for them too.

Many of the people who come to me have initially applied for a visa by themselves, and a large number of these have had their visa applications rejected. In fact, the number of rejections is high when an applicant decides to go the visa process alone, and this is often due to several common reasons. I’ll highlight a few of these reasons, and indicate some of the mistakes that people make.

Australian Migration Law

As Australians we already know our country is generally regarded as a great place to live. With its natural beauty, great climate and growing economy it makes for an ideal place to raise a family, work or visit and most foreigners think so too. As such, Australia features high up on the list of desirable places for them to live.

However, although it is desirable, it’s also expensive, and it’s not a place that visitors from places like Thailand can usually afford to visit, especially not those who don’t have ‘regular’ jobs, like bar girls or massage ladies. We can’t stereotype all these women, but, generally, it’s safe to say on an average low-skilled wage in Thailand it would be very difficult to visit a country like Australia for any length of time. But, at the same time, it’s a great incentive for anyone from a poor country, wishing to work and send money home, to not fulfil the conditions  for their visa.

In fact in a recent report, Australia was ranked as the world’s 7 th most expensive country in which to live.  ( I guess that’s why more and more Aussies are leaving, and moving to cheaper places like Thailand or the Philippines, where the cost of living is much more reasonable and their AU$ goes a much longer way). That being said, because of this the Australian government has had to put strict migration laws in place, especially when it comes to migrants from certain ‘high-risk’ countries like Thailand and The Philippines.

This doesn’t stop people from those countries from entering Australia, it merely means that they have to do slightly more in their application to prove that they will not overstay their visa conditions and that they can afford to stay there during their visit. It’s not racism, it’s just that the Australian Government just wants to know that the Thai lady will stick to the conditions of her visa, and won’t do anything illegal, like working whilst she is there.

Australian Visa Law Is Complex

It’s important to remember that visa applications are not rejected for arbitrary reasons. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) can only make its decision based on the relevance and quality of the supporting documentation that you provide. If you satisfy your case officer, who is primarily the decision maker in these matters, that you are providing a fully complete and correct application, and that all of the information contained within it abides by the rules and is 100% satisfactory and true, then the visa will be granted.

Successful Visa Grant

Each application is unique but it must adhere to the regulations, and it is generally a failure on the part of the applicant to adhere to these that flags the case. Small mistakes in the documentation or on the application form can lead to a visa being delayed or rejected completely. The truth is no visa is guaranteed. So until it is granted there is always a chance it will fail.

However, if you: satisfy the selection criteria with a fully complete and correct application it will result in a  probable visa grant. If you submit an unsatisfactory application it could lead to a possible visa refusal.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be given an opportunity to amend your application, even if it is just to correct a small detail you have overlooked after you have lodged an application. Therefore, it is crucial that you get it right the first time.

And it is up to you to present the the decision maker with a case that will satisfy the stringent requirements of the authorities involved and laws in force at that time. A visa refusal may hamper any future submissions that you make, so again I can’t stress enough the importance of getting it right the first time.

Visa Policy

There are numerous websites and forums on the Internet that allow people to exchange information and advise each other. However I always caution that you take this advice at your own risk, as sometimes it can be likened to a game of ‘Chinese Whispers’. Visa policy is complex and it changes often.

Getting correct and the most up-to-date information can be difficult, but it is crucial, because what worked then, may not work now. And what worked for them, may not work for you. Are you 100% sure that the class of visa they are referring to is the same as yours? Is your situation exactly the same as theirs, or does yours have subtle differences (of course it does, everyone’s case is unique). Ultimately because migration law is so complex, the Internet can become a source of misinformation. Something gets posted up in a forum for others to read. It gets re-posted on other forums by well meaning forum members, and then it becomes ‘gospel’. However, as each case is different, these Internet ‘truths’ do not necessarily constitute the best advice and some cases can even be downright detrimental to the application.

One such example, that I see often on the Internet, is the question…

Should I deposit money into my girlfriends account to show that she has adequate funds for an Australian Tourist Visa?

In other words, should I give my Thai girlfriend money? Most people on forums answer, ‘Yes, immediately. Deposit X amount of money into her account!’ They say this because they are well meaning, and because they believe that it shows that she can support herself while she is in Australia. However, my advice to such a question is a vehement, ‘No. Under no circumstances should you deposit any money into her account!’ My reason being that it’s an immediate red flag for DIAC , because it looks like it has solely put in there for the purpose of satisfying the adequate funds criteria… which of course, it has! There are many other ways of proving that your girlfriend has access to adequate funds. Depositing money into her account is not one of them.

Applying For An Inappropriate Visa

There are many visa sub classes, and without some legal advice it can be difficult knowing which visa is the most appropriate to apply for. As a Migration Agent I am able to advise my clients immediately on which visa is the most suitable for their circumstances, however, if you are intending to do the visa by yourself it can sometimes be difficult to find the correct advice. Again, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. A Google search for ‘Which Australian Visa’ brings back just under a million and a half results! So how do you know which visa is the right choice? And what happens if you get it wrong?

I would advise anyone attempting a DIY visa application to make their first step a visit to DIAC’s website to do their Visa Wizard. Or should I make it my website?  (Migration Agent Laughs). By following the steps and answering the questions correctly the Visa Wizard can help you find the most relevant Australia visa to apply for. You need to be 100% sure that you’re getting this step right. While it’s true that  some  visas are much easier to obtain than others, generally this should not dictate the type of visa that is applied for. Instead the applicant should choose the visa depending upon their own personal circumstances.

Unfortunately applying for the wrong visa is quite often, one of the biggest mistakes that people doing their own visas make. And it’s a silly mistake, that shouldn’t happen, and wouldn’t if they sought out professional advice. One of the biggest grips I hear folks say is that migration agents charge too much, and while I would say that’s probably true of most onshore agents, offshore agents such as myself generally have much lower fees, and on the whole tend to know the country and it’s people much better than any onshore agent ever could. We speak the language, know the law, and know how to get things translated and organized this end (in Thailand) cheaply and easily. An onshore agent is going to charge you a bomb for all of that, because Thailand is not necessarily their field.

For anyone ‘umming’ or ‘ahhing’ about costs, I would say ‘you get what you pay for’ and a good agent will definitely be worth his fees. You wouldn’t go to a plumber and get a pipe fixed for free, nor would you expect your dentist to extract a tooth gratis. We all have to make a living, and it’s my honest opinion that I give the very best, honest and professional service that I can to my clients. I know not every agent does, and some have a very bad track record, which is why it’s important to talk to the agent on the phone and get a feel for the type of service they offer.

Submitting Incorrect Forms Or Fees

Lastly I’m going to talk about submitting forms and fees. You may think that this is very basic advice, maybe it even seems too obvious, but it’s amazing how many people get it wrong and have their visas refused just because they submit the wrong form or fees. It’s so very important that you fill out the application forms as accurately as possible and pay the correct amount in fees. This will go a long way in reducing the chances of a refusal of your application.

Make sure you fill all the relevant sections as truthfully as possible too, this not only helps you succeed with this application, but it can also help you to avoid future problems if you decide to apply for a subsequent visa later on in the future. I can in no way advocate lying or misrepresenting the truth on any visa application because unfortunately I’ve seen it come back to haunt many an applicant at a later date.

Generally, DIY applications from high-risk countries just aren’t thorough enough. The applicant doesn’t show DIAC that he has the ability to sponsor his girlfriend or partner, and that she is a genuine visitor. When I take a look at most visa refusals I’m able to see why immidiately. The applications are put in with gaping holes in them, either due to ignorance of the law, or a lacksidasical approach, and luckily for the applicantas (if they come to me) I’m able to resubmit their application and address all of those issues. I have a pretty good track record so far…

Anyone wishing to contact me about fees and my visa service can do so in the form below, drop me an email and I’ll see what I can do for you. I offer a no hassle, low cost, professional service.


On February 12, 2011, posted in: Visa Advice by
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