Visa Vexation - Helping Someone Immigrate OzB Style

Freely admit I'm not sure which forum area this should go in.

I want to help my longtime gf from Thailand immigrate to Sydney Australia. The partner visa costs over $7k currently, which is an expense I'm sure any reasonable OzB'er would want to avoid.

Does anyone have any (serious) ideas on how else I could bring her here?

We don't have kids and she's over 35. Hard worker with solid resume in property sales and similar. Decent English. Been together for years. Has been here once before as a tourist without issue.


  • +13

    Our immigration system is a labyrinth. Heck, it makes a labyrinth look like a walk in the park. For something as important as getting a PR Visa (and presumably eventually citizenship), you don't want to OzBargain this.

    At a glance though - over 35, resume in (property) sales, presumably not swimming in cash if she wants to save $7k - not many other PR visas I can think of.

    There's a reason why scam marriages for partner visas is such a lucrative market - it's because it's one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get a PR Visa.

    • I still had to ask.

      Am I right that just being over 35 cuts out a lot of work visa options?

      • +2

        Don't quote me (on any of this, completely not my area) but I'm not aware of that many work visas with a route to Permanent Residency, that don't also have skills requirements - which a resume in sales isn't going to suffice for.

        • +4

          A mate working in immigration in the NT mentioned that it's not just skilled jobs per se that you can get visas for, but also areas in which there were skill/employment shortfalls.

          Even something as entry level as being a waitress might qualify in an area like the NT if there weren't enough people willing to do it already living there.

          Definitely something I'll be double/triple checking as yes, it sounds a tad ludicrous.

        • +2

          You're actually correct. Here's the Temporary Skill Shortage visa website:

      • +3

        PR visas will cost $6,000+ either way. A work visa no longer is a route to PR and requires a job offer from this side.
        The partner visa route has 2 stages if I remember correctly: 1) 2 year temp residency followed by a relationship check when converting that to PR. Cost my mate $12,000 in fees and lawyers.
        Good luck, there is no shortcut.

        • +3

          This. My wife is on her PR now, and we were 'fortunate' to apply when the fees were < 5k. We did all the paperwork ourselves, so no extra cost there, just took a lot (a lot!) of time to assemble all the evidence, fill in forms etc. The TR -> PR transition was easy by comparison, but still had a bit of info to assemble + more forms.

          We looked into different options, and IMO - I am not an immigration lawyer though - yep, you will be up for over $6k + waiting time + paperwork + hassle no matter what.

          • +3

            @DisabledUser112832: Same thing here.

            Do all the paper work yourself and save yourself on agent fees. They get you to do all the work anyway, at least for a straight forward spouse visa. i.e. you collect all the evidence etc. and provide the info to fill out the standard forms. Unless it's changed a lot in the past 10-20 years, you just needed to be organised. Also keep copies of everything you provide on initial application. They will ask for it again during the PR process.

          • +1

            @DisabledUser112832: Same here.

            We did ours years ago (fees were <2k), I thought it was super easy (no lawyers required), but it did take a lot of time and effort to assemble. I remembered that it took 1 month to get granted the temporary residency. Very smooth experience.

            However, I know someone who did it quite recently and it costed $7k (without lawyer fees) and took 18 months before the temporary residency was granted. I have looked into many different visa options for relatives and HighAndDry is right that even with the costs and timeframes, a spouse visa is the easiest and cheapest ways to get a PR Visa in Australia. Specially since most Australian visas don't lead to a PR.

            You know what's crazy? Costs and wait times for a parent visa.

          • @DisabledUser112832: I'm curious as to when the Aus partner visa fee doubled - was it end of 2014 or 15?

            • +1

              @CrankyCarrot: Good question, I can't remember; I don't think it doubled but it did go up 50%. Try googling "australian partner visa fee 2014". And we did an off-shore application too, which now I think about it was around 3k at the time.

            • +1

              @CrankyCarrot: I think it was around $2700 in 2013, might be wrong though.

              Edit: this was for a PR spouse visa coming from a credited country so might be different depending on circumstances.

              • +1

                @decr: sounds about right. it was around $2000+ back in 2012.
                So it increases by 200% in 7 years.

                • @Bargain80: My Googling suggests the last big 50% hike was as of Jan 01 2015 when it went up to $6865.

                  Math is not my favourite thing in the world, but I guess if it was around $4500 or so before that, 50% would roughly bump it up to the quoted figure.

                  Presumably it's all been CPI since then, and the agent I spoke with said it would go up again with CPI on Jul 01 2019. About another $140 assuming the bump will be around 2%, to $7300 or so total (plus credit card fees potentially). Ouch.

      • Permanent work visas still cost a fair bit, maybe a bit cheaper than 7K but not by much.

    • +1

      The market rate for an arranged marriage in Australia is circa $80k to $100k. If it was easy getting a visa with a cheaper option this wouldn't be the case.

  • Also, are there any changes to immigration law impending that would be worth looking at ASAP?

    • +2

      Nature of visas, they change the law on a whim all the time. Just have to stay vigilant

    • @ThriftyTheo If you are looking for a serious option I recommend contacting Australian Immigration Agency (AIA) who are registered migration agents.

      They will charge around $200 AUD for a consultation and will conduct a full review and provide you with all your options and the associated costs. This also includes current and future pathways towards PR and Citizenship. Also they are aware of new and upcoming migration legislation and will be able to assist in providing advice for future options as well. There's also no obligation to use them for the visa application.

      This is the best way to identify all your options and costs from a reputable migration agent for a relatively low price.
      (FYI - I am affiliated with AIA, however that's also why I can vouch for their ethics, integrity and positive market reputation)

      • I have not dealt with AIA before, but I would definitely recommend to only go with a reputable agent based on recommendations. I have been screwed by a registered but incompetent agent who gave bad advice, did not know her stuff, and got me to do most of the work myself (including unnecessary labour market testing to the extent of thousands of dollars). And as some already indicated, the system changes constantly, such that the only people who can navigate it successfully are those with insider information. There are great agent out there, and then there are vultures praying on people desperate for a visa.

        The Australian immmigration system cannot be navigated by mere mortals.

  • +55

    Have her adopt you, and bring her in using Parent Visa 103. Current price $6100. Bargain!!

    • Beats the partner visa by a grand and change.

      • +1

        "Bro, what were you thinking when you brought in your girlfriend on on a 'Parent Visa'? Where did you get your immigration advice?"

        "Shut up, Eneloop. And would you quit calling me 'bro' and 'brother' all the time. It's dad."

    • This is creative. I like it!

    • What would be the cost of him adopting her? Is a child visa cheaper?

    • +2

      Then you will be marrying your….mum?

    • +1

      yeah, and wait for another 7+ year at least

    • +2

      143 subclass paying $45k per parent and you still have to wait for 4-5 years now. 103 would take maybe 10-15 years if lucky

    • Mind = blown.

      • +11

        A reliable tug likely runs to more than 7k.

        (edit: Phrasing!)

        • Lol something something… Everyday… Something… ;)

    • +11

      What scams? Getting even a permanent visa is really f****** hard! I should know, my husband is three years into the process via partner, with at least 2 years more and hours of headaches to go!

      • Is it a partner visa?

        • +12

          Mate, I agree with you a lot but HardlyCharly was just have a bit of a vent and not really saying that PR visas are a right or entitlement. People are allowed to vent about an expensive tedious long process.

            • +14

              @DisabledUser142696: Lol yes that's right you better request to have your first comment removed because you are the definition of a racist.

              I have actually had a look at a few other posts you have commented and I'm not surprised at all after reading them.

              Honestly feel sorry for people like you going around attacking others then act like you are a total patriot. You are nothing but a troll… Whatever excites you I guess.. Enjoy your night

            • +11

              @DisabledUser142696: Plenty of Australians may never pay a single cent of tax in their whole life.

              sauce2k sounds like someone that pays taxes and may support their parent/s with their income. sauce2k is the sort of citizens we want in this country.

              • -12

                @whooah1979: The net cost of a single taxpayer does not offset the costs of taking care of two elderly residents (which the poster will be himself/herself eventually).
                This is simply factual. You are virtue signalling and nothing more.

                The actions of other Australians are irrelevant. An even greater percentage of the foreign born never pay tax, but that is not the matter at hand.

                • +3

                  @DisabledUser142696: Immigrants like sauce2k do more than pay taxes. They contribute to the Australian economy by being productive. That can't be said for the tens of thousands of Australians that are born here that does the opposite.

                • +1

                  @DisabledUser142696: You do realise that parent/s visa is not permanent visa, right? It is more of a long-term visa. And there are a whole bunch of requirements that need to be met in order to acquire the visa, things like health insurance, certain amount (>10k I believe) to be paid to the government as a deppsit for each parent.

                  • +5

                    @canon1989: Many progress to staying indefinitely or for large periods of time (e.g. renewals).

                    Here you can see the fiscal impact of parental migrants, it is hugely negative.. eg their contributions do not cover their costs:

                    Discussion of negative impact of Parental Visas on Australia:

                    "The issues are much less straightforward for parent visas:
                    • the economic outcomes of immigrant parents are typically poor. They tend to have low integration into the labour market largely due to their older ages and, in some cases, poorer than average English-language proficiency. This means lower income (and income tax) than other immigrants
                    • immigrant parents are at stages of their lives when they make considerable claims on the aged care, health and social security systems, which must be met through taxpayer funds
                    • immigrant parents can make valuable social contributions to their families, but these mainly benefit the family members themselves. It is likely that the broader social contributions of other immigrants are greater and certainly not less than those in the parent stream"


                    "The contributory visa charge of just under $50 000 meets only a fraction of the fiscal costs for the annual intake"

                    p27 "Overall, the cumulated lifetime fiscal costs (in net present value terms) of a parent visa holder in 2015-16 is estimated to be between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, which ultimately must be met by the Australian community. On this basis, the net liability to the Australian community of providing assistance to these 8700 parents over their lifetime ranges between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms. Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. This is a high cost for a relatively small group."

                    Government bureaucrat data, not from Nationalist discussion.

                    Oh you were just virtue signalling out of ignorance? You and the millions of others that support globalism & dispossession on the left and the right.

                    So you do realise you were wrong yes? and the post you replied to of mine was correct yes? Just so we are clear who was the one posting out of ignorance.

              • +3

                @whooah1979: "The actions of other Australians are irrelevant"

                Don't even bother replying him anymore
                .. Can't believe he just said that lol.

                  • -1

                    @DisabledUser142696: If I were to go to another country and lecture them that it is appropriate for them to let masses of others in, such that their own people were financially worse off, and made minorities, it would be racism in the extreme. A colonialist's mentality.

                    Who would go on the record to say it would be otherwise?

                  • @DisabledUser142696: What does China have to do with this topic?

                    • +1

                      @whooah1979: It was an example. E.g. to understand why supporting mass migration to Australia is wrong, and why what other Australians may/or may not do is irrelevant it can be helpful to look through the lens of other nations and their rights.

                      What non-Australia born people (& many brainwashed Australians) demand for Australia, would be considered racist if Australians were to migrate to other countries and demand the same. E.g. Migrate to China in such numbers as China is on track to be minority Chinese within 100 years and then demonise any effort or discussion amongst Chinese supporting the move to policies that limited that level of dispossession, or their talking out against the level of Australian entitlement in demanding the maintenance of such policies.

  • +6

    There is no cheap option based on her qualifications that I am aware of. Any other avenue will just end up costing more in the long run. Been there, done that.

    The Ozbargain way would be to pay the 7k and DIY the visa, not shelling out on lawyers.

    • The agents that offer to help with your application - not worth paying for unless you're the type to get basic things wrong on a form, right?

      • +6

        Do it online, it breaks it down easier. It's still a hell of a lot of work though when one half of the couple is a native English speaker it's fine. There's plenty of forums / Facebook groups around if you search for them.

      • Depends, if you have a straightforward case then have at it yourself. But proper immigration lawyers can steer you clear of pitfalls. In my friend's case it was about police clearances from AU and home country. Because PRs can take up to 18 months to process but police clearances are only valid for 6, the lawyer can advise you when to get and amend the lodgment. The rules change every time and the latest change was as recent as yesterday 14/3. When rules change they don't tell you and don't give any grace periods, but lawyers usually know these things in advance through their contacts. Don't skip a few and risk burning the whole application fee (not to mention time).

        • +1

          I didn't have a straightforward case, partner who I was bringing over had permanent health issues which caused his initial application to be rejected as they stated the cost of his care would exceed over $100,000. We appealed and it was granted, all without lawyers or immigration agents. It is designed that you can do it if you can be bothered to take the time.

          Footnote: ex-partner now he has his PR… and he will be going through the same process bringing over his Filipino nurse wife.

          • @lainey13: Wow, really? Presumably the nurse doesn't have the health issues though.

            So in your case you must have been together in Aus for at least three or four years for him to retain the PR, right? (ie 1-2 years partner visa processing and 2 years to have the PR granted on top of that).

            • @CrankyCarrot: Haha no issues for her I think, guess she can help look after him if he deteriorates (cystic fibrosis). I'm just guessing since we haven't spoken since 2014…
              Yes we were together for like 5 years in total. Partner Visa not prospective marriage. This was back in 2011? 2012? so processing time was months not years and was just a few years before perm was granted.

              • @lainey13: And it was like 2 grand then instead of 7+ and rising.

                I wouldn't want my gf/partner to be in a bad situation if things ever deteriorated in our relationship either, hence it's good to know what would happen in the worst case scenario of us breaking up if we did go through with everything.

                A degree of pessimism is wise when planning, IMO.

      • +1

        I have experience with this process.

        When it asks you to provide evidence, provide excessive amounts of it.

        Ie. There's a checklist, if you provide the bare minimum to meet the requirements it will likely be knocked back.

    • +4

      Yep DIY Visa. There's really no need for lawyers / agent as long as you can read forms and follow the requirements which are laid out clearly.

  • +13

    she's over 35 (could pass for under it easily)

    How is this relevant? It's not like buying a crate at the bottle shop!

    • +4

      Just flattering her in case she runs across the thread.

      Actually being over 35 changes which work visas she's eligible for AFAIK. I believe there was an age cut-off of 30 previously that changed.

      • +22

        Older white guys with young asian brides always like to gloat about how young they look.

        It's usually followed by how in shape they are compared to other older guys

        • +1

          Hey, if I had a good looking wife I'd gloat about her too.

        • -1

          Yeah well my Thai gf is 19.

          Dont tell the wife tho she would get right stroppy if she knew.

    • +5

      OP either trying to make a point that he hasn't got the stereotypical 20 yrs old Thai wife or he hasn't come to terms with her old age!

    • +9

      I thought he was suggesting she could lie about her age to an employer.

  • +11

    Migrate to North Korea. Don't vote for Glorious Leader at upcoming Great Erection.

    Become a political refugee. Free.

    • +1

      That's thinking a little too far outside the box.

    • +2

      I've always wondered about that actually (this is a tangent). Political asylum seems ripe to be gamed - all someone has to do is really just piss off their government (considering most countries people want to immigrate from tend to have autocratic ones); hell, you could leave the country to your preferred destination first, post things online, and then seek asylum from the country you're already in so you're not even taking any risk.

      • +4

        Political asylum seems ripe to be gamed

        You think it's not already being gamed to a massive level in Australia?

      • +1

        Political asylum seems ripe to be gamed

        Compared with other ways, I don't agree that it's ripe to be gamed, it's probably one of the higher risk things you can do. Also, it's not really so much that you're pissing off your government, but that your life is in imminent danger because you've pissed them off.

        Let's say that you're currently a citizen of a country you wish to "escape" from, so you decide to do something which the government there could jail and/or execute you for. That wouldn't be the smartest thing to do, given there is a pretty real possibility of being put in jail or a labour camp, or being shot.

        The other alternative, which you mention, is you leave to another place first, then do your criticism from there. What might happen in that case is that you'll be found to not have a genuine case, you'll be deported back to your country and you'll be shot. Again, there is a risk of that happening.

        Literally no other way of coming to Australia carries such a high risk.

    • +2

      Since she's from Thailand, the equivalent is insulting the king.

      • AFAIK, their king is a pacifist.

        • +6

          The laws are not

        • +2

          Nah, Thailand has some pretty (profanity) political problems at the moment. Their military shut down their parliament in 2014 (12th coup since 1932) and have ruled as a junta since then. They have elections soon but they've effectively banned some political parties.

          The current King lived like a rock star for decades but doesn't really have the charisma for it. He was the only son of the last King.

  • +12


    Australia could easy pass as one of the best countries to immigrate to. A $7k green card is a bargain.

    • +4


      Once you're eligible for welfare, you'll get your 7k back in no time.

  • Can she get a student visa then a skilled worker/graduate? E.g do masters here?

    From watching friends go through the partnership visa thing, it is harder and harder to do without a lawyer. Doesn't matter about your English you need someone to go through the complicated bits with you and someone to keep on pushing them. The problem you are possibly going to run into is the fact that you don't live together currently and she has only been here once. You need to gather a lot of stuff together to prove that you are a couple including holiday photos together, shared expenses etc etc.

    Is she able to look at working for a company with an office in Thailand and Melbourne or Sydney? Then do an internal transfer?

    Would you consider moving somewhere together for a year so you can prove you are a "real couple", then do the partnership visa?

    Otherwise going halfs in the partnership visa would be the easiest way. If she can come on a skilled work visa then that could be a good way to see if you are ok living together.

    • We've already lived together in Thailand, on and off for years. The lease was in her name and I paid her cash as it was the most sensible way to do it at the time (ie it would only have been worth the hassle of finding a landlord who would sign off on us both being on their version of a lease if we were angling for an Aussie partner visa from the getgo). Same deal with joint bank accounts.

      We have a bazillion photos from all over the place, Thailand, Sydney, other places visited in the region, so that bit would not be a problem.

      We need to be in Sydney is that is where my sick, elderly relative is. Would definitely look into her working for a Thai company with an office here. I wonder how the Thai staff at the immigration office get to be there.

      The student visa I would also look at, although costs of doing all that may match or outweigh the partner visa (without the need for past joint bank accounts etc though).

      • +1

        Student visa doesn't automatically turn into a PR though. See this.

  • +2

    Migrate to thailand instead… cheaper, better beaches.

    • -2

      And less bigotry too! seriously Australia should learn some more of the peaceful ways of their culture.

      • in my experience, asia is mostly a 'them vs us' mentality. everyone who doesnt look like an ethnic local is an outsider. my mate's thai wife's family looked down upon her when she started dating my farang mate. the bigotry there is not only tolerated, its normalised. and let's just say that he's lucky he has pale skin!

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