If you are the de facto partner or spouse of a primary applicant on a permanent visa application and your relationship has broken down due to family violence by that partner, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) may still consider you for the visa application. This is because the Department recognises that you should not have to remain in an abusive relationship to be able to stay legally in Australia.
For DIAC to continue to consider you as a secondary applicant, you will have to provide evidence to the Department of your situation. It can be hard to know what to show, so in this blog we’ve outlined for you some basic information, what you’ll need to do and what you’ll need to provide to DIAC.
Family Violence Provisions
On the 24 November 2012 the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) introduced new provisions aimed to make it easier for victims of family violence to be protected. The Family Violence Provisions offer a reassurance to victims of family violence by allowing them to continue with their permanent visa application even if their relationship has broken down.
What is family violence?
For immigration law, family violence includes:
‘conduct, whether actual or threatened, towards:
- the alleged victim, or
- a member of the family unit of the alleged victim, or
- a member of the family unit of the alleged perpetrator, or
- the property of the alleged victim, or
- the property of a member of the family unit of the alleged victim, or
- the property of a member of the family unit of the alleged perpetrator,
that causes the alleged victim to reasonably fear for, or to be reasonably apprehensive about, his or her own wellbeing or safety’.
To fall under this definition, you or a member of your family unit must have experienced family violence by their partner. You should know that the violence does not need to be physical – other forms of abuse such as psychological and financial abuse can be enough to show family violence.
What visas do the Family Violence Provisions apply to?
The Family Violence Provisions don’t apply to all visas – it is limited to a certain number of visa subclasses, including some skilled stream (business) visas, and numerous visas that are now closed to new applicants.
Please contact us to discuss whether these provisions apply to your visa.
How does the family violence provision work?
To be afforded the protection under this provision, the following conditions must be met:
- DIAC must be satisfied that the relationship was genuine until it ceased;
- The family violence must have taken place during the relationship; and
- Acceptable evidence must be presented that the applicant of their dependents were the victims of family violence.
You will have to contact the Department and provide evidence of the genuine relationship, a statement as to what occurred in relation to the family violence and evidence to support your claims of family violence.
What is acceptable evidence?
Acceptable evidence for family violence can include judicial documentation (from the courts – if there have been court proceedings in which the family violence was relevant), and/or non-judicial documentation (from other sources including doctors or police officers).
The Department requires at least two forms of evidence (not the same type of evidence) to support your claims.
Please contact our Migration Team if you need guidance on what documentation to provide, or if you would like assistance in dealing with the Department – we will be able to steer you through this process.