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Jeff has Writers Block

I’ve been writing BLOG articles since I think 2012. I can see 721 of them published. So yea, I’m a fairly prolific chap. 

Problem is it makes it harder and harder to think of new things to write about, because chances are I’ve touched on that subject a few times before. Trying to find a fresh angle isn’t always easy! So many times I spend more time staring at the screen with typing-fingers poised and nothing comes out!

So I have writers block. Not for the first time. Certainly not for the last time, sorry to say. 

So, tell you what! There’s a Comments Section below! Who has something that would really like to know more about? Visa processes! Filipino culture! Cross-cultural relationship challenges! 

Please tell me what you want to hear! Deal?

And in the meantime, some articles on Tourist Visa grants, Onshore Partner Visas and on some of the extras that Down Under Visa offer. 


down under visa visa news tourist visa grants and onshore partner visas

Tourist Visas Grants, Onshore Partner Visas and more….


Australian Visa News – October 2019

I’m blank on great ideas to write articles about just at the moment, however I’m sure I can come up with a few current things which we observe from clients and from what we get back from the Department. I should feel a little less unproductive, and it should make you all a little more informed. Tourist visa Grants and Onshore Partner Visas are always current and topical!


Tourist Visa Grants – Staying too long in Australia


We get plenty of tourist visa grants. 2 – 3 weeks processing time usually. That means not a lot of stress for clients from long waiting times. There are some areas which appear to show us Departmental thinking at present. Would be fantastic if they sent out newsletters to let us know their current priorities, but they’ve never worked like that. We just need to observe and see patterns. Fortunately we see a lot due to the large numbers of visa applications we lodge.

Basically? They don’t want to see visa holders using tourist visas in place of partner visas! They don’t want anyone staying more than 12 months in any 18 month period either. And this is why we always ask for the dates you were in Australia for. Never needed to do so before, but now it’s essential.

Too long in Australia: If you have already spent 12 months (in the last 18 months) inside Australia, you pretty much have no hope of getting another tourist visa straight away. Why do I say “pretty much”? Because the power to refuse tourist visas based on this clause is discretionary! They can grant the visa if they wish, however lately they are generally not.

Approximately 9 months in Australia: Once upon a time if you had been in Australia for 9 months on a tourist visa, they would tend to be OK about another 3 months. Nowadays we’ve seen them refuse when a new tourist visa would put applicant even close to 12 months. So trying to rest on technicalities, not always successful. 

Using tourist visa instead of partner visa: I had a tourist visa refused just this week. They had reached 12 months in Australia 6 months before. We assumed it was safe. But it was very obvious that they could see a couple who were clearly wanting to spend all their time together. If someone spends a year together and then starts planning how soon they can get back together, this is a person who should have a partner visa. Tourist visas were not designed for living together in a committed relationship. 


Less Multiple Entry Tourist Visa grants

For the last few years, they’ve been fairly generous with multiple entry tourist visa grants. In fact they would often grant them when we didn’t even ask for them. Then we started having difficulty with Border Force…..or I should say our clients started having trouble with Border Force. If the visa holder tried to have a fast turn-around in Manila or a weekend-only in Bali before returning, they would be accused of being a non-genuine visa holder! 

So clearly they don’t want anyone using long-stays or pseudo-long-stays like multiple-entry tourist visas with only a few days between visits in order to basically live in de facto relationships!

Again, I’ll repeat what I’ve said a few times in articles, If you can’t stand being apart then you need a partner visa! If you can stand being apart, then get a tourist visa. But if you’ve gone beyond that casual stage and have entered the need-each-other stage, then bite the bullet and get a partner visa. 


Onshore Partner Visas


Onshore Partner Visas are a perfectly fine option. We probably do about 1/2 and 1/2 onshore to offshore partner visas, and it’s been like that for a long time. We have no preference, and we won’t push you in any direction. People ask me all the time “Which is the best?” They’re all “the best”, as long as Down Under Visa manage the application for you!

Main issue is that you have a limited time for a partner visa to be lodged onshore. 

  • Tourist visas last 3 months only (in 99%+ cases)
  • Sometimes weddings need to be organised in that 3 months 
  • Required documents from Philippines are hard to organise from inside Australia, and no we can’t do this for you
  • Sometimes romantic couples don’t take deadlines very seriously

If you can work with all this in mind, we’re happy to work with you.


Other News


Mostly business-as-usual for us. New clients sign up. Applications are prepared and lodged. Visa grants come in, and we have a lot of happy clients. It’s a great job!



Please read the BLOG articles that come in regularly. We like to keep our clients well-informed. And don’t forget to make some topic suggestions!



Same deal as above for our YouTube podcasts. I elaborate and expand on the podcasts more so than I do when typing, because I’m a bit of a chatterbox and I have a lot to say. You can listen in the car or at any time at your leisure. Please also share with your partner and with friends, FB groups, etc.


Philippines to Australia

This is our Facebook Group, with most of the members being Down Under Visa clients old and new. That means Australian Filipina couples just like yourselves. Go make some new friends!



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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!
Remarrying in Philippines - Will you have problems?
Mike and Patricia - Down Under Visa Testimonial


  1. Tim Kempton

    Geoff could you give us some information about church /non church weddings in the Philippines and Filipinas attitudes about being married in the catholic Church? I mean many Australian men that meet there new lady in the Philippines have been previously married and that could be a problem with the church not recognising divorce.

    • Jeff Harvie

      Hello Tim. Very good question. I’ll give you the benefit of what I understand, but realise I’m no expert on Canon Law and suggest you follow this up with your local Catholic priest.

      If you are married in the eyes of the Church, you’ve made a sacrament. And the sacrament of matrimony is permanent. IF after a lengthy investigation the Church felt that no sacrament was made (based on what, I couldn’t tell you!) and therefore the couple are not married. If you had a civil wedding, or were married in a church where the Catholic Church felt no sacrament was made? Then you were never married as far as they were concerned. Again, need to discuss with a priest!

      I would say though that absolute dyed-in-the-wool Catholics who would insist on a Church wedding no matter what, and would send the would-be groom away because his marriage is still seen as valid, these are a bit rare in the Philippines these days. Most would just ignore the fact and would be happy with a civil wedding.

  2. Anon

    If you need some writers inspiration.
    Maybe some info on a Filipina’s first travel to Australia on a tourist visa… what she needs besides a tourist visa? Airport Exit fees, any possible immigration issues if she is travelling alone, etc.


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