Posts with tag: partners
I know just how tough the decision to migrate can be [the process is even tougher!] but also, of equal importance, is the timing of the decision to migrate. The experience of a recent client emphasized this point to me.
I consulted with Claire [not her real name] in South Africa late last year. She was 49 then, married with two children at School. Whilst she is not wealthy she is comfortable and her daily existence is good. She has a well-paid professional job. She hasn’t been personally affected by violence and crime in South Africa and doesn’t have any concerns about her immediate safety.
She is, however, concerned about the future in South Africa. In particular she is concerned about whether her two children will get jobs because of affirmative action programs, and is concerned that the lack of effective government in South Africa is leading that country to become another Zimbabwe.
There is no pressing need to immigrate, yet she feels she is being irresponsible for not at least securing the opportunity to do so at some point in the future. Particularly since her 50th birthday was, at the time of the consultation, six months away. She realizes that once she turns 50 she is not going to qualify for a General Skilled Migration visa.
She does have family in Australia – her brother-in-law and his family - and she has visited them several times in the past.
On each visit she takes note of the freedoms that they and their children enjoy but there are downsides as well. The poor exchange rate between the Rand and the Australian Dollar makes it impossible to consider purchasing the same size property in the same socioeconomic suburb.
She does realize that the General Skilled Migration visa would be valid for a period of five years and that she doesn’t need to immigrate immediately.
I don’t hear from Claire for several months and then receive an SOS asking me for help because her Expression of Interest hasn’t been selected from the pool. It is five days before her 50th birthday.
She needs to obtain State Sponsorship and receive an Invitation To Apply for residence before her 50th birthday. I’m not sure whether I can obtain State Sponsorship in five days. It usually takes two – three months. I contact the Manager at the relevant State Department and make an impassioned plea for urgent consideration. I’m advised that there are no guarantees but urgent consideration will be given, however, the application has to be submitted with at least two clear days notice to allow them to consider the application.
After 48 hours Claire advises me that she and her husband cannot come to an agreement as to whether to apply and she is, therefore, not going to make the decision without his commitment. I receive a call on the day before her 50th birthday to the effect that whilst she and her husband cannot come to an agreement she’s going to make a unilateral decision to apply .… if it still possible. I get the call at 3pm on the day prior to her birthday.
Once again I make an impassioned call to the Manager of the State sponsorship program. No promises but we are advised if we can submit to fully documented application within an hour consideration will be given. It took us approximately 1.5 hours to do so and I had three staff members doing bits and pieces but we managed to get it done and received the fantastic news that our client had been Invited To Apply for permanent residence approximately 5 hours before her 50th birthday.
The timing of the decision and subsequent Invitation To Apply is significant in the context of actually being able to migrate to Australia. By making the decision:
- She can migrate to Australia under the General Skilled Migration program with her husband and two children.
- She will be young enough to ply her trade and skill in Australia and earn income in Australian dollars. The Australian dollar is very strong and comparable wages are generally better.
- Her children will complete their secondary education in Australia for free, and will have lower costs for tertiary education as compared to international students.
- She and her family can apply for Australian citizenship after 4 years, therefore, having duel South African and Australian citizenship.
- Being an Australian citizen allows one to reside in another country for as long as they want without it affecting their ability to return to live and work in Australia.
- The exchange rate between Australian dollars and South African Rand is significant in that she can go back and enjoy the pleasures of the country that she may not have been able to afford to do previously, e.g. African safari’s, luxury hotels, tourist stuff, etc.
If Claire had decided to not apply when she did, but still harboured dreams of making it to Australia at a later date:
- She would not qualify for General Skilled Migration or Employer Sponsorship as the cut off age is 50 years old.
- She would continue to work in South Africa and occasionally visit family in Australia, or take some holidays.
- She would remain uncertain of her children’s future.
- She would have to rely on one of her children qualifying for General Skilled Migration to Australia. Not an easy task.
- If they do qualify, her and her husband can apply as a parent, but would be required to pay a lump sum of ($42,000 each – total $84,000) to the government. This is not paid back to them.
- She would not spend any working years in Australia, and may not have a suitable nest egg for a comfortable retirement.
- She runs the risk that only one of their children could migrate to Australia and face the heartbreak of leaving a child behind.
I still don’t know whether her husband is on board but at the very least she has preserved her options and will qualify for a permanent residence visa. She has undoubtedly made the correct decision, in my opinion, and I’m sure that in time she and her husband will agree.
Just imagine if she had slept in the day before her birthday. The option of this life changing decision would no longer be available.
Forthcoming seminars :
South Africa – April 2013
Johannesburg: Thursday 18 April at the Michelangelo Hotel – 7pm to 8.30pm
Consultations: 19, 20, 21, 28, 29 and 30 April.
Durban: Monday 22 April at the Endless Horizons Boutique Hotel – 7pm to 8.30pm
Consultations: 23 and 24 April
Cape Town: Thursday 25 April at the Commodore Hotel – 7pm to 8.30pm
Consultations: 26 and 27 April
Singapore – April 2013
Saturday 27 April at the Holiday Inn – 11am to 12.30pm
Consultations: afternoon of 27 April, whole day 28, 29, 30 April, 1, 2 and 3 May.
Israel – May 2013
Sunday 5 May at the Park Plaza Orchid Tel Aviv Hotel at 7pm
Consultations: 6, 7 and 8 May.
The seminars are free to attend but there is a charge for consultations. You are not obliged to book a consultation.
To book for the free seminar go to : http://www.immagine-immigration.com/seminars/
To book for a consultation contact Ruth on email@example.com.
Perhaps I'm showing my age but for many of my generation the movie "Green Card" was the ultimate migration movie.
I'm sure you know the plot but if not, the character played by Gerard Depardieu wants to stay in the United States and enters into a marriage of convenience with the character played by Andy McDowell to secure a Green Card to enable him to commence a job that he's been offered. She enters into the marriage to be able to keep her apartment [which is for married couples only].
Gerard’s character has his comeuppance during his interview with Immigration and Naturalization Service when he cannot identify her brand of cold cream.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the moral of the story is if you are thinking of a partner visa to spend some time studying your partners cosmetic cabinets in more detail but the actual point is don't use fraudulent means to apply for visas. I'm sure a good migration lawyer could have secured the appropriate visa by legitimate means. Perhaps it's time that scriptwriters wrote in a storyline for a Brad Pitt type migration lawyer. Not that I have any resemblance to BP or am considering a career change.
With a more selective immigration policy and tougher student/permanent residence pathways partner visas [relationship-based visas] have never been more popular. In fact the Australian Federal Government has set aside 44,000 places [as many as the independent General Skilled Migration category] for partner visas in the recent budget announcement.
Partner visas include applicants who are engaged, formally married, in a de facto relationship [same-sex or heterosexual] with an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
The term "de facto" is unfamiliar to many of our readers but generally means a common-law marriage where the partners have been living together for 12 months or more in a genuine stable relationship which is likely to endure.
Partner visas generally fall into one of the following categories:
Prospective marriage -- also known as the fiancée visa. This visa is for a person who is engaged but not yet married to Australian citizen or permanent resident. This is the "try before you buy" concept that allows overseas migrants to enter Australia for the purposes of marrying their Australian fiancé's. The marriage must take place within nine months.
Spouse [provisional] -- this visa is for a person who is married to, or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen. The visa is provisional and can lead to permanent residence, generally once the Department of Immigration and Citizenship are satisfied that the couple is living together in a genuine stable relationship after two years.
Spouse -- this is a permanent visa for a person who is married to or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen permanent resident.
The tighter migration laws referred to above together with the fact that the "relationship register" operated in many States in Australia [which means that de facto couples who register their relationship don't even have to live together for 12 months before they can apply] have meant that a greater degree of vigilance is required on the part of Australian citizens/permanent residents.
The following are some warning signs for the unwary Australian/permanent resident:
- Although you could have been blessed with good genes if the migrant finds you irresistible and she is half your age, beware;
- If you met on the internet on any site with the terms “Russian Brides” in the URL, beware;
- If your paramour is a student about to finish a course of study in Australia who uttered the words “oh damn” on 8 February last year (when the student policy changed), beware;
- If she suddenly decides to open a joint bank account, sign a joint lease, cancel her postal box and have all of her mail directed to your common address, suggests joint travel or any of the other evidence required to support a de facto partnership application beware, you could be set up.
Relationship visas might be seen as the ultimate "shortcut" to securing permanent residence in Australia but immigration officers are not naïve. Relationship visas have amongst the highest decline rate of all visa applications in Australia. Approximately 40% are declined and not simply because applicants neglected to check her brand of cold cream!
We ensure that our clients apply for relationship visas for the right reasons. Not for the purposes of a "quick fix" in terms of immigration policy but rather because there is a genuine desire on the part of both parties to enter into a long-term relationship with migration to Australia being a by product of the relationship.