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More than 1000 partner visas cancelled in migrant marriage sham

Monash University migration expert Dr Bob Birrell says the partner visa is a popular route for permanent residency. Source: News Limited

FOREIGNERS in fake relationships with Australians have been stripped of their visas as the migration system is swamped with people trying to get residence here through marriage.

More than 1000 partner visas have been cancelled since mid-2010 for reasons including bogus claims, bad character and incorrect information.

Most of the cancellations involved people on permanent or temporary visas who were outside Australia.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the figures showed the Abbott Government had to be vigilant to stop people abusing the program.

“The threat is not limited to what happens on our borders,” he said.

The number of partner visas issued annually has doubled since the early 1990s, with some 50,000 processed in 2012-13

A further 58,000 applications were in the pipeline as of June 30 last year.

Almost 12,000 spouse and partner visas were issued for Victoria last year, including more than 2000 to Indian-born people, 1245 for Chinese and about 1000 for UK-born applicants.

It has been estimated about a third of marriages in Australia involve migrant spouses.

Monash University migration expert Dr Bob Birrell said the partner visa was a popular route for permanent residency because all applicants would succeed provided they could demonstrate they were in a genuine and continuing relationship.

“It’s an as-of-right program, there is no assessment of a person’s skills or English language ability,” he said.

Dr Birrell said the huge backlog of cases was putting enormous pressure on migration officials.

“They are literally swamped with the client load, it’s very difficult to seriously evaluate whether the relationship is genuine and continuing,” he said.

More than 100 visas were cancelled in the six months to December 31, 2013, 228 were cancelled in 2012-13 and 713 between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012.

 

john.masanauskas@news.com.au

 

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