student visa to spouse visa

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student visa to spouse visa

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Old 03-06-2013, 07:19 AM
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student visa to spouse visa

Hey all,
this is a really useful forum, hoping you guys can help me. I am an australian citizen by birth but stayed in Singapore for quite a while before i migrated back here. when i was in Singapore I met the man who is now my husband back in 2006 and got together that year. we only recently got married last year in july though we have definitely met the 3 year stay together criteria. Now he is in australia on a student visa doing his masters (he's already competed his bachelors here) but he hates the course (it's also really expensive) and wants to drop out. the problem is i don't know how it works if he drops out now for his student visa. am i right to say that it would get cancelled immediately? would that affect his spouse visa application and make him look bad to the diac? do you think it would be better if he dropped out of his course, left the country and came back in on an eta and applied for a spouse visa on an eta instead? any additional advice you would like to offer up would be very much appreciated!

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Old 03-06-2013, 09:11 AM
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Hi Mayflower -

This is a common problem - the problem is, there's no elegant way to cut short a student visa under current regulations. Assuming you want to lodge your partner visa onshore and be together in Australia during the 12+ month processing period, you need to figure a good way out of the student visa. I do not suggest dropping out of school, as that will eventually end up in a visa cancellation from breaching visa conditions, not a good thing to have on your record at DIAC. It also would result in a 3-year ban on all temporary visa applications for Australia - although this wouldn't stop him from applying for an onshore partner visa.

Another option is to voluntarily ask DIAC to cancel the student visa, unfortunately that makes hubby instantly unlawful! The next step (or simultaneous step) is to apply at DIAC at the same time for a Bridging Visa E, which might get upgraded to a Bridging Visa C if you lodge your partner visa within 28 days of the voluntary student visa cancel. The issue with that step is that on either a C or E bridging visa, you cannot re-enter Australia, so he's stuck here until the partner visa is granted. Furthermore, he would need to prove financial hardship and apply for work rights if he wanted to work under a C or E.

Another alternative is to apply for a different course that is much shorter than the current course and of a different type, which if approved would result in a replacement student visa with a much shorter lifespan. You could then lodge the onshore partner visa application which would result in a Bridging Visa A which would activate as soon as the student visa expires.

All different options to consider - the one thing you want to avoid is a student visa cancellation with hubby offshore - this can activate a 3-year travel ban on temporary visas (including all visitor visas) which could cause a problem trying to get an ETA to re-enter Australia to lodge the partner visa onshore.

Hope this helps - please advise if I can assist further.


Mark Northam

Mark Northam
Immigration Lawyer

LLB, GradDipLaw, GradCertMigrLaw, BBA(Acctg) MARN 1175508
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