I am often asked by older Australian men whether immigration will be concerned that their girlfriend is much younger. Over the years I have helped thousands of Australian men bring their Asian girlfriends to Australia. It is often the case that the Australian man is older than his Asian girlfriend. So, is this a problem?

Bring your Asian girlfriend to Australia

To get an Australian visa, one must do two things. First, they must meet the requirements of the visa they are applying for and then second, they must show the immigration case officer that they meet the requirements. Your Asian girlfriend might intend to come to Australia to have a nice holiday and during this holiday you will develop your relationship by living together and travelling around Australia etc before she goes home to her home country to resume her life there. In this way, she meets the requirements. She is a temporary entrant – likely to return to her home country and she is coming to Australia for a legitimate purpose – to have a holiday with you and spend time together.  This is all fine.

In 99% of visitor visa refusals, it is the second limb of the requirements that is not met. The applicant fails to show the immigration officer – using evidence – that they are what they claim to be – a temporary entrant coming to Australia for a legitimate reason. Some applications just fail to give enough evidence, some give lots of evidence in one area and not enough in others. So how does this apply to those who have a significant age difference?

Visa applicants who are much younger than their sponsor

There is no age requirement as such, however, when an applicant is much younger than their Australian partner there is a requirement to show that the relationship between them is legitimate and this will flow through to showing the case officer that the applicant’s intentions in coming to Australia are legitimate. Remember, if you fail to prove your intentions then you will not get the visa.

I would say that where there is a significant age difference there is a slightly higher burden of proof. You must convince the case officer that the relationship is real and that the applicant is not trying to use the Australian sponsor as a way to gain entry to Australia. In most cases where the relationship is real it will simply be a matter of evidencing the development of the relationship and showing the case officer that the relationship is no different to any other.

Age differences are normal

When it comes to relationships there is no normal. I have seen relationships develop where the age difference is anything up to sixty years. All relationships are different. Some people merely want companionship, others want to enter into a relationship to help the other party and all of these reasons are fine. In fact, it has often been the case that older men, who are typically more settled and financially secure, are more attractive to Asian women who are looking for that very financial security. There is nothing unusual or wrong about this. A relationship does not even need to be sexual. It does not need to have any particular features. There is no formula about how a relationship should develop or how it should look to others. In fact, the case law in the area of de facto relationships and the requirements for de facto Partner visas would seem to show that there is no need for a sexual relationship, no need to live together, and even a relationship that is based in the financial benefit of one partner at the “expense” of the other can be a perfectly legitimate de facto relationship.

Legitimate relationship

So, no one can really judge whether your relationship is legitimate by looking at your age difference. But the case officer will and must determine the legitimacy of your relationship. Even for a visitor visa. So, they will look at the evidence that you supply in the visa application. You must provide adequate evidence to convince the case officer of the key requirements of the visa you are applying for. For a visitor visa this will likely require that you show that your relationship is a legitimate reason for her travel to Australia. So really there is no difference – simply forget your age difference and go about providing the case officer relevant evidence of your relationship and convince them that the reason for her travel to Australia is to be with you and you intend to develop your relationship further while in Australia.

If you are concerned about your age difference or if you are simply wanting legal advice or assistance with your visa application – to ensure she has the best chance of being approved – please contact me and I will be happy to handle everything for you.

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