Filipino Teenagers and Australian Family Visas

 

Filipino teenagers! Filipina teenage girls? When they were 10, 11 or 12? They were delightful. Talked all the time. Happy 24 hours a day. Never stop smiling, and are loving and respectful to parents (biological parents and “step” parents alike). Then the biochemistry that goes along with becoming teenagers cuts in, and you wonder where your sweet child went! The rebelliousness happens. The sullen moods. The lies and the sneakiness. And of course the BOYS appear! Save us from teenage boys!!   

 

Filipino teenagers and Australian partner visa applications from philippines

 

And Filipino teenage boys of your own? I don’t have as much hands-on experience with Filipino boys as I do with Filipina girls, however it appears to be much the same. The nice little boys discover girls, drink and sometimes drugs. The rebelliousness is much the same. Boys seem more likely than girls to drop out of school or to fail their studies because of their partying ways.

So what does this have to do with visas from Philippines to Australia? 

 

Teenagers and Visas from Philippines to Australia

 

Again, what does this have to do with visas? A lot! 

One of our earlier visa applications, back in the days when we did a few skilled work visas as well, was for a Filipino mechanic who had a wife and I think four daughters.  One of those daughters (stretching the memory here) was pregnant in I think mid-teens, and gave birth before the visa was applied-for. So she and HER child were included in the visa application (which was back in the days before the Government in their gracious wisdom started charging for including secondary applicants). Oldest daughter? She goes and gets married, then discovers too late that she can’t include her new husband in the application! No longer fitted the definition of “dependent child”, so she no longer qualified. What a waste!

 

Dependent Child Status and Filipinos

 

Children of a partner visa applicant must fit into the description of a “Dependent Child”. It means that the child (biological child or legally adopted child) is truly dependent on the visa applicant for their daily needs. Actually the words used are “wholly or substantially dependent”. And daily needs are food, clothing and shelter. It doesn’t mean dependent for iPhones or living the good life! And depending on the visa (eg a Child Visa), they may be required to be studying too. Either way, not easy to show dependency in a child 18+ if they are not studying, so dropping out to spend more time with boyfriend isn’t helpful.

The Australian Government’s issue is that they don’t want someone tagging along so they can share in the good-life in Australia when they will actually be just fine if left behind. This of course clashes seriously with the Filipino wish to keep family close and to DEFINITELY share the good fortune! However the Australian Government makes the decisions, so if there’s an argument they tend to win.

Issue is that if teenage girl runs off and moves in with her boyfriend, then she is no longer dependent. This applies whether she marries him or not. Same thing happens if she gets a job. She doesn’t need mum to take care of her, because she’s earning her own. 

Again, wanting to lead the good life doesn’t cut it. Had someone with a daughter in late 20’s. Earned I think P25,000.00 working at a call center. Mum still sent her money, because she found life to be a struggle. Remember what I said? Food, clothing and shelter. There is no way that they could successfully argue that P25K wasn’t enough, because many live on a whole lot less. No room for luxury, but didn’t mean that she couldn’t cope. So no chance.

So yes, if your son or daughter ceases to be dependent, then she can wreck the whole thing. And your issue is that your Filipina wife or Filipina fiancee is most likely going to take this very badly, because she wants her family to remain together.

 

The Rebellious Teenager and Australian Visas

 

This is the more common scenario. Far too common. This is the Filipina teenage girl who doesn’t want to go to Australia at all because she’s met the love of her life in a skinny and pimply young man who has plans on taking her virginity if he hasn’t done so already. If you tell her she’s going anyway because it’s her own good, she may well run away. Again, the sweet little 11 year old who never stops smiling? She’s a thing of the past! She’s been replaced by the Oestrogen/Progesterone Monster! Parents are her enemy, especially her mother.

The Filipino teenage boy doesn’t usually run away. I don’t know what it is, but the ladies go softer on them and seem to let them get away with far more. He can’t get pregnant, however he has his barkadas (his mates), and he doesn’t want to leave them behind if he comes to Australia. Not moody like the teenage girl. He’s far more sure of himself, because he’s such a macho party dude and no girl can resist his charms. And you need a bulldozer to shift him into action.

As to visas? What happens? Very very little! And there lies the problem.

Your rebellious teenager knows everything, and knows that their little hormone-ruled world is all that matters. What their parents want for them, not part of their world at all. The girls are in love, and love is everything. The boys are lazy, and they like their lazy life which will surely be that much sweeter when mum isn’t there to nag them so much. Lola is so much easier to deal with.

 

Filipino Teenagers – Visa Application Solutions

Oh, I so wish that I had a simple solution. I wish it not only for readers and clients, but I wish it for myself! I had three teenagers go off the rails at age 15 and run back to the province! Only one returned. I just had two more reach the dreaded age of 15 and so far so good! Still here, and mostly good kids. I have one at 14 that I worry about, a kid I have less influence over. And there are five younger ones who we also need to get past the scary 15 in thankfully a few more years. 

The immediate and obvious issue is that if they cease to be dependent by making dumb decisions then they will never get a visa. Australia…..fairly graciously, I might add…..lets you bring kids as part of partner visa applications and on separate child visa and dependent child visa application. They just ask that they be truly dependent, which I think is reasonable. Personally AND professionally, I have little patience for “economic refugees”, which include those relatives who want to slip in the door of Australia because they feel entitled to their “share” too. If your previously dependent Filipino kids become independent, then they really have blown their chances!

And if they toss away a chance to be included in a visa because at 15 they think they’ve met the man of their future in a high school boy and local basketball hero called Jomar, that’s really tragic. Chances are Jomar will run off with another girl called Cristina in 6 months, or worse. Maybe he stays and they have babies together! The chances of a wonderfully happy life ahead for her are very slim. There’s a very good chance she will regret it later. Same thing will happen with young Mr Happy Go Lucky. If he misses out, he will in time discover how tough life can be but it will all be too late.

 

So what do I suggest?

Well, once again I can only speak for girls here. I find young Filipino males very hard to talk to. I have nephews, and communication is non-existent. 

My experience has been to keep the communication up. Talk freely. Encourage them to talk freely. Don’t be permissive, but don’t be so strict that they feel they can’t talk to you. I think that free communication between Filipino kids and their parents…especially teenagers….is fairly non-existent in most families. Parents bark orders, but otherwise largely leave them to it. Kids seek advice about their problems and important issues from their school friends! If this is the type of relationship your Filipina wife or fiancée has with her kids? I wouldn’t expect you will have too much success, and nature will just take its course regardless. Sorry, but it’s true.

We also have a practice by which we know where our kids are at all times. If one is going to a friend’s party, we send another child along knowing they will report on each other if there’s a slip-up. We drive them to places. We pick them up. They don’t roam around unsupervised. Project to work on? Their friends can come to OUR house to work on it. Very little opportunity for boyfriends and baby-making!

I also find that those kids, Filipino or otherwise, who know their own value are less likely to seek approval from others. A girl who knows she’s loved and worth something, far less likely to be swept off her feet by a teenage Casanova. Build their self esteem and let them know that you love them regardless and that you are proud of them. If there are more smiles, hugs and kind words and less criticism, anger and punishment? They will really hate being on your bad side. If you scowl at them and find fault regardless of what they do, where is the incentive to do the right thing? Not much!

And you as new dad, you need to understand they are probably pretty scared about this new world they will be venturing into. Reassurance from you, plus most importantly making sure they have a relationship with you…..this is pretty essential! Don’t plan to get to know them only after they arrive, or it may not happen.

If you do all that and still have problems, consider a really good chance of scenery! Is there another relative they can stay with somewhere else away from the silly friends and lecherous teenage boys? Or how about you include them in a tourist visa to Australia earlier? And consider your visa choices anyway. If you plan on applying after the partner visa and them being apart from mum for a few years, if they’re going off the rails now it will probably be way too late by then!  

 

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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!

 

Down Under Visa News November 2019
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