How to cancel a Partner Visa application to Australia


Relationships fail! Happens all the time, whether this is your relationship in Australia with your Aussie ex-wife, or the lovely lady you met in the Philippines and believed you would be with forever. Yes, truth is that some Australian Filipina marriages and de facto relationships break up!

I used the Tagalog word Sayang in the incredibly cool cartoon (Let’s hear it for Jonathan, my highly talented cartoonist!). It means “What a waste!” basically! Such a shame to let go of something you worked so hard for and had so much hope around. And it is! Of course it is! All that time and effort, and maybe the expense of a partner visa application if you got that far. End the relationship, and two people have nothing!  


How to cancel a partner visa from Philippines to Australia when an Australian Filipina relationship breaks down


How do I cancel a partner visa application?


Straight to the point, because there are some legal responsibilities here. And basically this:

If your relationship breaks down, you (the sponsor) must inform the Department and withdraw sponsorship. That is law! It’s not optional!

This is the part that you agree to on the partner visa sponsorship form: To inform the department in writing if the support for fiancé(e) or partner is withdrawn before their application is finalised. 

What it means is that you have no choice at all to not report the breakup as soon as you know you’re breaking up for good and that it’s damaged beyond repair. The decision to cancel a partner visa application is not actually yours to make!

I’ve had sponsors say “Oh, even though we broke up I don’t want her thrown out of Australia. I still care about……etc”. Well, you can’t do that! It’s not your decision to make! Leaving or remaining? Not up to you! She was allowed (by the Department….not you!) to enter Australia because she was in a relationship with an Australian, and she remained based on that situation remaining. Once it changed, the Department needed to be told. 

So you call them on 131881 and tell them. They will tell you what to do. Basically, you will be putting it in writing that you withdraw your sponsorship. That’s all. You make no decisions as to what they will do, because it’s out of your hands.  


What happens after a partner visa is cancelled?


Well, here’s the next thing you agreed to: To acknowledge and accept that if their relationship with their fiancé(e) or partner breaks down (including where the sponsor has withdrawn their sponsorship), Australian privacy laws prevent the sponsor from receiving further advice, or being given information, in relation to their former fiancé(e) or partner’s visa application. 

Once you’ve withdrawn your sponsorship, the Department will take over and they will no longer discuss the matter with you unless they want to know something. Don’t call them. They’ll call you!

Generally? Unless there are issues like a child of the relationship or they can prove that there was domestic violence (now known as “family violence”), she will have her partner visa cancelled and she will need to leave. Again, it’s in their hands. 

On the family violence side of things? They do need to prove this. They can’t just make empty allegations. You can see the nuts and bolts of it HERE if this is an important issue for you. However if you suspect she’s a sneaky person with bad intentions? Stay away from her, and don’t ever be alone with her!  


Should you end your Australian Filipina relationship?


This is the tough question, and this is what I really want to say a few things about. 

I have clients contacting me sometimes every month, and they say “The relationship has ended, and I want to cancel the partner visa” or the partner visa application, or stop preparing the partner visa application. All depends on what stage they are up to. But they want to pull the pin.

If they want to know what to do next? Yes, of course I tell them what I said above. However I tell them one other thing, always.

I say “Please wait 1 – 2 weeks, then let me know if you’re still wanting to end things!”

Guess what happens in a bit over 50% of occasions? Yes, they manage to sort it out and continue. There are countless relationships that are still together today, and I would think a few babies born who would never have seen daylight had I not asked their parents to wait and to reconsider!

What does this tell you? It tells you that relationships that take time and effort to develop to the stage of applying for visas shouldn’t be tossed away quickly!  


Are all Australian Filipina relationships worth saving?


I look back at some failures I had, and I don’t regret ending them at all! I had two significant ones, both of which lasted about a year. Both relationships had me visiting them in the Philippines three times. Three overseas trips each. Letters, emails, phone calls, etc. A lot of time invested, not to mention money. 

And yes, if I had waited two weeks before ending these relationships, I still would have ended them. I’m one of those slow-to-anger people, who forgives and makes excuses for people. It takes quite a number of incidents and a fairly substantial history of wrongdoing before I will give up on a person. And I did this in each case. However if someone had asked me? I think I would have seen the wisdom in waiting and considering before pulling the pin.

Remember that I said maybe 45% of the time I would advise waiting two weeks, the relationships ended anyway. Yes, some relationships really should end. If the relationship is based on abuse, lies and gold-digging? Definitely should end! No one needs that in their life! And if you yourself were driven to rush into the first relationship that came along because you were desperately lonely? There’s a good chance you made a rash decision, and this is probably not the person you should be planning to spend the rest of your life with.   


Long Distance Relationships


Long distance relationships are hard! No question about it. Ever hear that one about the blind men describing an elephant? Three blind men! One says the elephant is like a thick tree. The other says it’s like a snake. The other says it’s like a hose. They didn’t have the use of all 5 senses, and made judgements based on clearly limited information!

Well, guess what? You get to read emails, see photos or videos, and talk on the phone or over Skype or Viber. But you don’t get to sense all that you sense when you’re physically with someone. And much of the time you’re alone with your imagination. Add to that the confusion that comes from the mix of language and culture. An action, word or sentence from a Filipina can mean something very different to an Aussie. And you have your approximately 23 hours a day when you are NOT communicating with her to let your imagination run wild.

Don’t know about you, but I think that limited time together over a limited media (videos, chat windows, etc), and a couple of lonely people from different countries and cultures……might just lead to a few misunderstandings!

And thus my point! Could the issue be a misunderstanding? Could you be about to toss away someone who actually loves you and will spend the rest of your life with you as a loving supportive life-partner? And could you be doing this because your imagination took you to the dark side?   


Please take the time. Be slow to anger. Calm down. Sleep on it. TALK about it, and LISTEN to each other. Use all the new communication and problem-solving skills you learnt from reading Jeff’s useful article HERE. Don’t waste a loving relationship that you worked so hard for, as that could be truly sayang!     


Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa


Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it!


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