Relationship breakdowns – what happens to my Australian visa?

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One of the most common questions we get asked as migrator lawyers revolves around relationship breakdowns.

There are a range of visas which allow a partner to live in Australia.

I am on a temporary visa as a partner

If you are on a temporary visa such as a student or work visa and the relationship breaks down, you will have to either apply for a new visa or make plans to leave Australia.

Partner and prospective partner visa

If you are applying for either a prospective marriage (fiancé) visa or a partner visa and the relationship breaks down, you will also have to apply for another visa or leave the country as your sponsorship is withdrawn.

However, you may still be able to get a permanent partner visa if the following circumstances:

  • you are experiencing domestic and family violence
  • you have a child with your sponsor
  • your partner dies.​

If this applies to you it is important to get legal advice as there are a number of matters that are required to be addressed before a permanent visa is granted and it can be cumbersome and technical.

What happens if my partner is a New Zealand Citizen?

New Zealand citizens have a special status and can come to Australia and stay for as long as they like on a special category (subclass 444) visa.

If you are in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen, you can apply for a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (subclass 461) visa.

The Subclass 461 is a temporary visa and valid for a period of 5 years.

You remain in Australia for the duration of the visa, even if your relationship breaks down.

If you are in Australia you can apply for a further subclass 461 visa as long as you have not become a member of a family unit of another person.

If you are outside Australia you can apply for a further subclass 461 if :

  • you have been in Australia for at least 2 years in the past 5 years whilst holding the subclass 461 visa
  • you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties with Australia that are of benefit to Australia
  • you have not been away from Australia for more than 5 years
  • you have not become a member of the family unit of another person

Do you have to advise Department of Home Affairs Immigration and Citizenship (Department) about the breakdown of my relationship?

If your relationship with your partner has ended you have a positive obligation to inform the Department that there has been a change in your circumstances.

You must remember it is a condition generally of the visa you are on at the time of the break down that you must inform the Department of any change in circumstances.

You can do this by:

  • by email (you can use form 1022 – “change of circumstance form”);
  • by submitting a change of circumstance form 1022 via your ImmiAccount; or
  • you can use the online contact form.

It is very important to remember that if you do not advise the Department of the change in your circumstances your application may be refused without you having the opportunity to explain what has happened.

How can FC Lawyers help with my relationship breakdowns?

At FC Lawyers our team of experienced accredited specialists in immigration law have assisted hundreds of visa applicants and holders in relation to relationship break down issues across a full range of visas.

It is important to remember there a lot of different ways to address your situation so get advice early and from an expert in the area.

Contact our migration team to discuss your matter should you have any relalationship breakdowns or questions regarding your partner.

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


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