Hello and greetings to all from Down Under Visa! Clients new and old, and those waiting in the wings for the right moment to start your life-changing journey bring your loved one from Philippines to Australia. Wife/husband, fiance/fiancee, de facto partner? That’s most of our clients. Otherwise those same couples then want kids or parents to visit or stay. We help there too.
How is Down Under Visa doing at the tail-end of COVID?
Doing great! The days of lockdowns, police checkpoints on the road and quarantine passes now seem like a bad dream. Can’t believe we got through it all!
However, to our unending pride, Down Under Visa NEVER shut the doors during any of this! Yes, at one stage for a number of months our physical office was closed (due to the COVID laws at the time). However we had staff working from home and some even moved in and stayed in our house for a few months. “Business as usual!”, our BLOG articles used to say! Never shut for a single day, thus our commitment to doing our job in taking care of all of you.
Since the borders opened in Feb 2021, everything at Down Under Visa roared back into action. Those poor patient souls who’d been waiting sometimes more than 2 years to meet their sweetheart in person were finally able to do so, and life began to come back to normal. We increased staff numbers to cope with the deluge of work, and we are very much up-to-date. The office works like a well-oiled machine.
I note that before COVID, there were I think about 15 Registered Migration Agents with dedicated offices in the Philippines. (Ours has been here for 13 years!) Now? There are only two of us! I also notice that the number of Registered Migration Agents throughout Australia and the world has dropped by more than a thousand! Sadly many learned and ethical colleagues saw their businesses fail during this time. Us? It was stressful and worrying, of course. But I truly believe that if you do good things with a focus on doing the right thing by others that good things come back to you.
Australian Visa Processing in 2022
I wish I could say that everything in the Department was back to normal and running efficiently, as is Down Under Visa. However this is not the case.
Tourist visas are taking 2 – 3 months to process.
And no, we can’t make them go faster. They won’t even respond to queries like that.
I’m noticing some faster ones coming through recently, which I take as a positive sign. The new Government says it will sort out the backlog with more staff, etc and we all hope that this will prove to be correct. I miss the days of tourist visa grants coming through in less than a week.
And to those who think that tourist visa applications are easy? Please think again. The Law (the Migration Regulations 1994) has regulations in place that try to ensure that only “Genuine Temporary Entrants” get into Australia, ie not those using a tourist visa as a way to do something else, which is usually to overstay and to work on the black market. In normal years there are around 60,000 overstayers in Australia at any given time. Most of these come from less-developed nations like the Philippines where the difference in wages makes this seem worth the risk!
This is why we lean on you heavily to provide enough evidence of you being in a genuine relationship with your Filipino partner, so they will not question her intent. There is method in what we ask of you! So bear with us when you think it all should be easier. It isn’t! Fortunately we’ve done this thousands of times and we know what a good application should consist of.
Onshore Partner Visas continue to be the most popular choice for Australian Filipina couples wanting to live permanently in Australia.
Note well that partner visa applications are maybe 5 times the work of a tourist visa application. We need more personal information, and a lot more documentation and relationship evidence from you. So not something you can slap together in the last month of a tourist visa! You need to start earlier!
And yes, we will lean on you if you short-change us, because it’s our job to get you across the line to join the other thousands of happy Down Under Visa clients settled in Australia and raising families. This is the sole purpose of us asking you for the things we ask of you.
Onshore Partner Visas bring couples together faster, because the visa applicant from the Philippines will arrive in Australia on a tourist visa. And when the onshore partner visa application is lodged, she will go onto a bridging visa and may remain inside Australia during the visa processing. A good deal, really! She may work, and may apply for Medicare too.
Just remember you are still limited by the long processing times of tourist visas currently!
Offshore Partner Visas still remain popular, mostly because they are being processed at a fairly speedy rate. Some have taking only 5 – 6 months. Not bad at all. And (unless they change the rules), if the offshore partner visa applicant is inside Australia (on a tourist visa) at the time of the grant there is no need to leave the country. She may remain.
So if you want a more stress-free option without deadlines to monitor, please consider an Offshore Partner Visa.
Travel to the Philippines for Australians
There is still a need to be vaccinated (as of this date! Please check!) before entering the Philippines. If not, then you will need to quarantine in a hotel until you can show a clear swab test. Normally just a few days from what I’ve heard.
But is the Philippines back to normal? I live here every day, and yes it all looks very normal to me. People still wear masks, but no more limitations on entering shops etc. Buses and planes are back to normal. Hotels are business-as-usual. Restaurants and resorts are open. No one is asking for proof of vaccination as they did before.
In COVID infection numbers are down. And what’s left of COVID is no worse than getting a cold.
So if you’ve been putting off travel? Please think again. Getting in and out of airports is no longer a nightmare. We just traveled overseas a bit over a week ago and it was easy and 99% normal. I say this especially to those who haven’t seen each other since COVID started. For goodness sakes get on a plane and give your relationship a much-needed boost that only togetherness can bring!