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on the partner visa sponsorship form: To inform the department in writing if the support for fiancé(e) or partner is withdrawn before their application is finalised.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


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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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  1. Consolacion J.


    Very well said Sir Jeff! Speaking about a Partner Visa/Fiance’e or on a de-facto relationship, truly the word of “sayang” or a waste is indeed matter! So please Guy’s out there, think deeply about your relationship with the Woman you truly love in your life! Don’t make rush with your decision, do not be judge mental to each other, listen and communicate and understand each other. If your lady is worth to be loved for, then , please don’t lose her… because you might regret with your decision after!

    • Chris

      I can sympathize with everything Jeff has said. I have been through it all and am still dealing with it now, long after I made that aganizing desicion to inform the department of our change of circumstances and that I was withdrawing the sponsorship only months prior to the final permanent parter visa was to approved. Even after suffering from an abusuve relationship I still felt like I was the bad guy withdrawing the sponsorship… I felt guilty that I was to be responsible for sending her home as such… even after being pressured and threatened by her not to say anything… I kept quiet to the department to help her for nearly 6 months after we had actually separated before I couldn’t keep going that way and made that final desicion to inform the department that we were no longer in a genuine and continuing relationship… if I knew then what was to come I would have made that desicion so much earlier… yes I agree relationships are not always easy and require effort and commitment from both of you… and you may want to take a couple of weeks to cool off before sending that email to the department saying your withdrawing your sponsorship because if you get it wrong all that hard work, effort, money time and emotional strain will seem like it was for nothing… this is what I thought about too… even when I knew we were never going to get back together and staying together was in detriment to my own mental health and well being … but I still thought about it… how could I not… I am only human. But I am now so glad that I finally came to my senses and sent that withdrawal letter. I’m not saying it’s been easy since… my Filipino partner decided to use the ‘domestic violence’ card to try to stay in the country… when in fact I was the one that had suffered that through our relationship. Unfortunately the Australian government has to take all cases seriously and it seems one can make false statements and easily be given a 26 month bridging visa while the department processes any claims all whilst that same person continues to be abusive to the Australian partner… so much so that and court ordered AVO had to be put in place….. yes I’ve been through it all and am still dealing with it! All I can say is thank god they changed the laws in the Philippines recently regarding Recognition of Foreign Divorce… a process I just started recently and should be finalized within a year from now.

      All that aside…. I haven’t lost hope… I still love the Philippines, it’s people and it’s amazing untouched beauty. I still have so many amazing Filipino friends who I visit regularly and I consider the Philippines my second home. After this all happened I vowed that never again would I date another Filipino but…well that was never going to hold up… I have learnt so much from what has happened over the last few years. You know what they say… what almost kills you makes you stronger…. I believe that now. I have since met an amazing Filipino lady that is more than I could ever have dreamed for… after now being divorced twice I thought I would be single forever… it turns out I really just hadn’t found the right one! But this time I am going into this relationship with a very different approach…. no rush… one day at a time… step by step and time will tell… we are going strong though and poking forward to things to come.

      On another note. It has been my absolute pleasure to have used Jeff’s services over the years… I first enquired with Jeff’s services in 2012 and have been using those services ever since. I highly recommend Jeff’s services and the team at Down Under Visa. They have always been extremely forthcoming with information and help over the years and have made the whole visa process very easy.

  2. Chris A

    That two week period is crucial. Twice this year I have asked Jeff to end it and send her home but after a week or two things worked out between us, Our marriage is now stronger than ever.

    • Jeff Harvie

      Yes, one more glowing success story! Well done Chris!

    • Harry

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for sharing the story.
      Actually same thing is happening with one of my cousin in Australia. He is an Australian citizen , having an Indian wife.
      They got married last year and the wife is expecting a kid at end of this year.
      Everything was going happily but suddenly the attitude of girl changes. She is saying not to stay with my cousin in Sydney as she wants to live in Melbourne with his whole family as her whole family is there.

      Now for past 4 months she is in Melbourne not picking any calls no reply , we came to know that the marriage was just their family plan to make her settle in Australia.

      Now my cousin is thinking to withdraw the sponsorship as she is still under bridge visa.

      Will it be ok if he withdraw the sponsorship when wife is pregnant as the whole family tried to connect her and family but no one replies.

  3. david

    Friend of mine is in a situation with his wife being she strays at night and her husband cares for both kids,one child is not his and philipino.She is aggressive and has no regard for either child.Sad story she also bought her parents in Phils a house after taking out a personal loan with NAB and not paying that back.She is threatening to take the house.She took out an intervention order trying to secure the house.A very unfit mother who really does not see the kids.My friend wants to withdraw his sponsorship and move on as his priority is the children,one has special needs.He took his long service leave to become a full time father to both children

    • Jeff Harvie

      Not an easy situation. I would suggest that he speaks with an Immigration Lawyer who also handles Family Law matters. Let him know that I can recommend someone.

  4. David

    Im on temporary partner visa and Im in a abusive relationship with my partner. She have been abusing me for 4 years treatening to withraw her sponsorship. Finally I saw your BLOG, I need help what will I do now, I want to end this relationship

    • Jeff Harvie

      Please email me privately, and I’ll recommend an agent who has experience in dealing with this area.


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