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June 27, 2012
Australia has introduced new measures to help victims of family violence on provisional partner visas. Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins MP, said the changes would lead to an improvement in the assessment of family violence cases under migration law and provide for a wider range of evidence to support such claims.
“Under the new arrangements, in order to improve the accessibility and operation of family violence provisions, we will streamline the evidence requirements claims for a visa on the basis of family violence,” Bowen said. “The current process of obtaining statutory declarations, with a set of technical requirements, can be quite difficult for some victims.”
The department plans to implement the changes from 24 November 2012. In the interim, the Australia Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will update policy guidelines to confirm that applicants on partner visas that provide evidence in addition to the required statutory declarations should be considered.
Under Australia’s Family Violence Provisions, certain people applying for permanent residence in Australia can continue with their application after the breakdown of their marriage, if they can provide acceptable evidence that they or a member of their family unit have experienced family violence from their partner. This covers partners and spouses in a number of family and business class visa clases.
“Domestic and family violence are unacceptable. It’s important women do not face obstacles in leaving violent relationships and that they receive the support and assistance they need,” Collins said. “These measures will make a real difference to the lives of women on temporary visas who have experienced the trauma of family violence.”
However, to ensure the integrity of assessments, applicants on partner visas will still need to provide a minimum standard of evidence.
“DIAC will consult with a range of organisations who work with victims of family violence to develop an appropriate list of acceptable evidence,” Bowen said.
Partners or fiancés of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens can apply to enter and/or remain permanently in Australia. Partner category migration may apply to:
•people intending to get married (fiancés)
•domestic partners and those in a same-sex relationship