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Hi, I'm an Aussie citizen. My wife is a Vietnamese citizen who has been living here nearly 3 years on a student visa (573). We got married in Nov last year. We have been planning to apply for a partner visa (801 / 820) for some time but haven't moved on it since she still has the student visa.

The problem:
My wife has recently decided not to continue her study and with a lot of personal things going on we weren't thinking. Now her university is demanding payment for the upcoming semester and she has to either make the payment or withdraw from the program, which will no doubt cancel her visa. We are scrambling to get the partner visa application sorted asap. We expect the university will demand a response on the next working day. She was told that if she withdraws they will require evidence of a flight out of Australia within the next 28 days.

I found the following quote from Mark Northam in 2014 which suggests a way forward:

If you lodge the onshore partner visa while the applicant still holds a student visa, then Schedule 3 will not activate, even if you voluntarily cancel the student visa at a later date - Schedule 3 is a time of application requirement, so what happens after application does not generally cause Schedule 3 issues.
We will submit the partner visa application first thing with as much evidence as we can find. Then we will stall the uni as long as possible before buying a plane ticket and withdrawing from the program. She will get a BVA before the day of the flight and can cancel the ticket.

The things I'm worried about:
  • The exact timing and order of events which determines whether Schedule 3 will activate.
  • The quoted info might not be applicable or out of date and my wife will end up with BVE or no BV rather than BVA.
  • This tactic might look dishonest and be a 'red-flag' for immigration officials when making a decision about TR and PR.

Any advice is appreciated. Please tell me if you think we should contact a registered migration agent.

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