“While the traditional family structure is no longer a realistic social standard, the family remains fundamentally important to people throughout their life. Individualism is highly valued and Australians usually encourage their family members to be independent and follow their personal aspirations.” https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/australian-culture/australian-culture-family
However, the above perception does not always align with the Departmental mentality. Individualism is not always welcome, especially when one chooses to create a family with a much older or much younger partner.
In my career, I have come across many couples who struggle to prove the genuineness of their relationship due to their significant age gap. Although all the evidence suggests that the couple is living in a happy de facto or married relationship and they do meet all criteria prescribed by regulations, the decision-makers still presume that it is simply impossible to have and maintain a genuine and loving relationship with a partner beyond a person’s age range.
It is not clear how age difference and authenticity of relationship correlates , however, from my experience this mostly affects couples where the female is much older than the male. Especially in the circumstances where the older person is also a sponsor. The general misconception is that love cannot exist in these circumstances and the archaic thinking is that an applicant is most probably using a sponsor just to migrate to Australia. Hence, the Department is “doing a favour” to the love-blinded sponsor by “protecting” them from being used.
Just recently I assisted a couple who went through multiple refusals and appeals and came to me with the final hope that they could be together. The sponsor was 15 years older than her husband, who at the time of application lived overseas. They did not have much evidence of cohabitation together, very weak evidence of mutual finances (largely due to the fact that the Australian resident was in a much better financial position than her husband overseas because of the differences in local economies) and the sponsor’s family did not accept her new husband. Before they came to me, the department refused their partner visa and the appeal to the AAT was not successful, there were further Tourist visa refusals and very little hope that a new application would be successful. The Sponsor had her own children that she had to care for, so relocation for her was not an option. However, the couple was evidently in a loving and supportive relationship. They also made multiple attempts to be together and meet in different countries just for weekends and let’s face it, since their first attempt to lodge a partner visa application 3 years ago, they were still in a relationship to the exclusion of all others.
To assist them, we focused on strong aspects of their relationship, one of which was their commitment and their continuous attempt to be physically together. We managed to get them across the line and her partner was granted TR and PR visa at the same time.
My view, in line with contemporary Australian family values, is that it should be an individual choice of who and when and with whom one can fall in love. As long as the feeling is mutual, it does not matter what will happen in the future. What matters is that at the time of the application and at the time of decision the couple is in a genuine relationship to the exclusion of all others.
Does this situation sound familiar? Contact us and let’s discuss how we can help you.