What to do if your Filipina girlfriend was Refused an Australian Tourist Visa

I am often contacted by Australian men who have a Philippina girlfriend (a “Filipina”). They tell me that they have attempted to obtain an Australian Tourist visa for their Filipina girlfriend but the application was refused. The Australian man has either attempted to prepare the application himself or paid some dodgy local so called migration agent (but who is often neither an Australian nor qualified in Australian migration law). A very high percentage of Australian Tourist visa applications are refused and it is not surprising because most people think that obtaining a Tourist visa is easy, and yet Australian migration law is amongst the most complicated areas of all Australian law. For most foreign citizens there is a lot involved in the preparation and processing of even a Tourist visa.

The first thing that you should do if your Philippina girlfriend (“Filipina”) is refused a Tourist visa is to look at the Decision Record/Letter of Refusal. The Department of Immigration sends out a letter with every refusal and they are required to provide reasons for the refusal. This might seem like a simple exercise whereby one looks at the reasons and can easily identify something which is lacking and that can be rectified. Unfortunately however, the reasoning is not always very detailed and can sometimes be a little cryptic. It often takes a skilled and experienced migration agent to decipher what the concerns really are. A detailed assessment also usually involves having a talk to the Australian man and his Filipina girlfriend to discuss what they submitted and what they said in the application.

I regularly prepare Tourist visa applications for my Australian clients who have had prior refusals. The preparation requires careful attention to address, not only the normal criteria, but also the reasons for refusal. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) states that, unless your circumstances have changed significantly from the first application, there isn’t really much point in submitting another application. So effectively, a refusal creates an extra hurdle that has to be overcome.

In summary, if your Filipina girlfriend has already had a Tourist visa refused, I would strongly recommend, not only using an experienced migration agent, but also one with a good track record of visa applications of the type that you want to apply for. In this case we are talking about a Tourist visa – and a Tourist visa for a Filipina. Each Australian Embassy overseas has its own peculiarities about the way it does things – its procedure – so it is important to take that into consideration. Try to find someone trained in Australian Migration law. If you do all of these things and follow your migration agents advice your Filipina girlfriend’s chances of obtaining an Australian Tourist visa will be greatly increased.

Australian Migration for Asian Nationals

There are a number of ways that Asian nationals can migrate to Australia. Some of those pathways are based upon work and some upon family or other underlying criteria. At Australian Visa Advice we deal with family based migration to Australia and that is what this article is going to discuss.

Family based migration usually involves situations where the Asian national is in a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. They need to be either married, engaged or in a de facto relationship. There are strict rules as to what defines a de facto relationship for the purposes of the Migration Act and Regulations.


Not all Asian nationals are treated equally – the citizens of some countries are classified as low risk and some as high risk. This determination is largely based upon prior records of nationals of the country in question – whether or not they have overstayed their Australian visa and abided by any other conditions, or not. For example, citizens of South Korea, Japan and Malaysia are considered to be low risk whereas citizens of Thailand, the Philippines and mainland China are considered to be high risk. The main significance of whether or not you are considered high or low risk will be in the time it takes to process your application.

Applications can be submitted either in or outside of Australia, apart from the Prospective Marriage visa (the Fiancé visa), which must be submitted outside of Australia. The Department of immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) looks at the length and genuineness of the relationship, the character and health of the ‘applicant’ and the financial capacity of the ‘applicant’ and ‘sponsor’. The Asian national can include dependent children in their application and other dependents whether or not they are children, but any dependent over 18 must prove that they are dependent upon the ‘applicant’.

Applications are usually lodged at the Australian Embassy or special visa office in the country where the Asian national resides. As mentioned previously, one can apply in Australia – but only if one has a visa which does not preclude them from applying for another visa while in Australia.

In summary, it is possible for Asian nationals to migrate to Australia. There are a number of different ways that they can achieve this. If they have a family based visa option available to them they should first check carefully whether they qualify before undertaking the process. We wish you the best of luck with your Australian journey.

What ‘exactly’ is a Partner Visa?

Many people wonder what a Partner visa really is. The word suggests that it is some sort of relationship visa. It certainly is a relationship visa, but it highly specific as to the type of relationship it refers to. An Australian Partner visa applies to a married or de facto couple. There are strict rules as to what a de facto relationship is for the purposes of the Migration Act and Regulations. The ‘Applicant’ is the person who is applying for the visa (your Thai (or other) wife or partner) and you, as an Australian citizen or permanent resident are her ‘Sponsor’.

A Partner visa is a great Australian visa that may be suitable for you and your wife or partner. It will allow your Thai, Filipina (or other) partner to enter and remain in Australia. It will allow her to travel to and from her country of origin without any limitations. It will allow her to work and be eligible to be enrolled in Medicare. The visa starts off being temporary and after about 2 years it will become permanent.

When a couple gets married or satisfies the de facto requirements and they want to live in Australia (or at least want the option of being able to spend periods in Australia without the hassle of trying to obtain a visa all the time) they can start to think about applying for a Partner visa. They will also need to satisfy health, character and financial requirements. They will need to gather supporting documentation and fill in a number of different forms. The medical examination is usually preformed after the application is submitted. An interview will also take place at some time during the processing of the application.

When you and your partner are ready you can submit her application. The processing time outside of Australia can be 10-12 months or more or less depending on the Embassy and other factors such as the Embassy’s case load. Once the visa is processed you and your partner can travel to Australia and start your life together without concerns about the need to apply for another visa.

To get good advice about whether the Partner visa might be right for your partner, you should always consult a qualified and experienced Migration Agent.

Australian Tourist Visa Application

If you are a Thai and Philippino citizen and you want to visit Australia for a holiday or to visit family or friends you must first obtain a Tourist visa. You must fill in a paper application and attach supporting documentation. What you must provide will depend on your individual situation. Make sure that you fill in the appropriate forms carefully and understand what information you should provide.

Tourist visas can be applied for 3, 6 and 12 month’s duration. Single or multiple entry Tourist visas are available. Usually the Embassy looks at the request, including any significant dates or events that are mentioned, and based on their assessment, should they decide to grant the Tourist visa they will decide the length of time and number of entries to be granted.

Unfortunately, a high percentage of self-prepared applications are refused because of poor preparation. If the wrong box is ticked or some important piece of information is not included the Embassy can and will refuse the application. At law, they are entitled to make a decision based on the information at hand.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will, the vast majority of the time, attach a number of conditions to a Tourist visa. Such conditions normally include: no right to work, maximum 3 months study and “no further stay”. The latter condition, also known by its category number (8503), effectively means that the visa holder cannot apply for another visa while they are in Australia. In other words, if you are granted a Tourist visa for 3 months and want to stay longer and apply for another Tourist visa, and the “no further stay” condition is attached, you will have to leave Australia in order to make a new application. Conversely, if the condition is not attached you would be free to apply for another Tourist visa (or any other visa for that matter) while you are still in Australia.

For Thai citizens their Tourist visa application is processed by the Australian Embassy in Bangkok. In the Philippines the applications are processed at the Australian Embassy in Manila. There are options available in both Thailand and the Philippines for sending your documents to the Embassy through special service providers and courier companies.