This is an area of common concern, and my guess is that for every one prospective Australian sponsor who asks me “Will the differences in our ages cause a problem?”, maybe ten keep quiet. Will the age gap – the fact that you are 20 years, or 30 years, or 40 years or more older than your Filipina bride stop you getting an Australian partner visa for her? Yes, a reasonable question especially when the visa process and the workings of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) are new to you.
Do age gaps matter in partner visa applications?
In short? No.
In not-so-short? They can contribute to issues if you don’t have a genuine relationship. But generally no.
The Case Officers in DIBP (or the Australian Embassy in Manila) make decisions on visa applications based on the Migration Regulations, and on how the Procedures Advice Manual (PAM3) guides them on how to interpret the Regulations. I’ve read the Regulations and PAM3 (just a few times!), and I can assure you that there is not a single word about age differences in there. Not a word. Not a hint. Not an inference. Under no circumstances may they refuse a visa application by saying “Nope! He’s too old!”
And from our experience…..yes, we at Down Under Visa have seen a few partner visa applications over the years!…….it really doesn’t happen! Age gaps are fairly normal. 10 – 20 years is pretty standard. 30 – 40 years, we would see visa grants most months. 40 – 50 years is less common, but it does happen. And this can and will lead to a visa grant if everything else is OK. If the visa application were to be refused it would NOT be because of the age gap!
What problems can age gaps cause a visa application?
This is why I said that in the not-so-short answer that problems CAN exist, however not purely because of a large age difference between the couple. No visa was ever refused for a genuine couple because the man was older.
Note the word “genuine”!
We don’t physically meet all of our clients. It’s not necessary, nor is it always practical. We have our Migration Agency practice in Manila, and we have Australian sponsors from every state in Australia. If I had time I’d make up one of those you-beaut Australian maps with the red dots representing clients. It’d be fairly dramatic! And certainly not all of them can come and meet us, nor do they need to. This is the electronic age after all, and we’re fairly high-tech in our flow of information to and from our clients. But I digress…..
But yes, we do meet clients. We meet couples in our office, and they sit across from me and my desk. I’m not so bad at reading people, and Mila is even better. I’m sure she can read minds! We get a fairly clear impression of how couples relate to each other and whether they are in fact a genuine couple or not.
And yes, the Case Officers can and will scrutinise your application for evidence of whether you are in a genuine relationship or not. They want to see that this is a couple with a strong commitment to each other and to making the marriage (or de facto relationship) work. Nothing to do with age directly.
Can a genuine relationship exist when there is an age gap?
Yes, absolutely. And this was what I was leading to before I put in a new heading. It’s not necessary to be of the same age to enjoy a genuine relationship. We see many a couple in our office where large age gaps exist, and where the commitment is extremely obvious. Where you can see the bond….the spark….the magic…..the love that exists between them. There is absolutely no reason why it can’t be.
I would only say that in some cases we can see that the spark really isn’t there, and whilst age gaps won’t be the cause of this, it probably contributes somewhat.
Does that cliché of the “girl marrying to escape poverty” ever exist? Yes, it does sadly. I’ve always said that the majority of our couples are clearly genuine. I would say in no more than 10 – 15% of cases the lady is at least partially “after the meal ticket”. I’m not going to say that no it doesn’t happen. Wish the number was 0% though! And it will only really happen if the Australian man is naïve. And this is probably more common if the man is besotted with a pretty young Filipina lady!
My advice is to make sure you’re thinking clearly. Relationships are relationships, and same rules apply regardless of whether you’re both Aussie or an Australian Filipina couple. Just make sure there’s a genuine meeting of minds and that you both truly “get each other”. Your wife or fiancée should be the best friend you’ve ever had in the world. Mine is! She should understand you better than anybody, and she should put you and your needs ahead of everything and everybody. And of course you should do the same.
If you don’t have a genuine relationship, then this and only this could stop you both from getting a visa grant. More importantly though is that if you don’t have a genuine relationship, then neither of you will be as happy as you could have otherwise been. Please think about that.
NOTE: This is an updated re-posting of an older article from 2016