From: Martin Salvo
Senior Immigration Lawyer
Did you know that there's 50,000 Australian Partner Visas submitted each year to the Australian government? This means that at any given point in time, the department case officer that eventually looks at your application will also be assessing many other couples simultaneously.
This may sound harsh, but this makes your Partner visa application just another number in a sea of applications.
This is what I call an 'inconvenient truth' and there's one more I would like to share with you...
The onus is on you as a couple to convince a DHA case officer (who is human, has their own prejudices, personal afflictions and opinions) that you meet the legal criteria for the approval of your Partner visa. There is no automatic entitlement.
Put simply, it is your obligation to convince the case officer with your information and supporting documentation.
So what is the case officer really looking for when reviewing through your case?
Well, in legal terms, they are assessing you against the definition of spouse, defacto and for Prospective Marriage Visa applicants specifically, also having an intention to marry.
In simple language however, they are looking at your relationship facts, timeline, plans for your future and documentary evidence to determine the strength, commitment and genuineness of your relationship.
Now, the reality is that every couple knows they need to provide certain items to support their application...
Joint Bank Accounts.
Photos together of the relationship.
Evidence of communication between the couple.
All couples have these, or at least a combination of the above.
Meaning a case officer would have seen these documents countless times before they even look at your versions!
So what is going to be the one truly unique piece of documentation in your Partner visa application?
What really differentiates you from the other 49,999 applications?
How do you catch the case officers attention and give them the best possible understanding of your entire relationship?
How do you frame the rest of your relationship evidence, relate it back to the Partner visa criteria and put everything into context whilst making the caser officers job as easy as possible?
What can distinguishe genuine and committed couples from the 'not so genuine and committed'?
But what exactly is a relationship statement?
Well, think of a relationship statement as your cover letter to your entire application.
If written correctly, it will tell your love story to the Department case officer.
When I say love story I mean that it will put forward your relationship history, key milestones and importantly, talk about the four main aspects of the relationship that will be assessed by the case officer, in one concise, yet extremely powerful document.
Visually, it should look something like this...
The truth is, in my 10 odd years working as an Immigration Lawyer & Registered Migration Agent, I have helped hundreds of couples get their Australian Partner visas approved (some examples below...)
I did this because I knew how important their statements would be to the overall success of their application.
However, initially I started to see some reoccuring problems...
Some couples didnt know what to write about (i.e. they didnt know where to start, or, they wrote pages worth of their love story but did not sufficiently talk about their history, timeline, milestones or aspects of their relationship - being the legal criteria for the Partner visa. Put simply, they wrote too much about the wrong things and not enough about the right things).
Some couples didnt know how to write or structure their statements and they were, nicely put, a complete mess!
Some couples would take a very long time to write their statements (despite me repeatedly (and gently) asking how they were going with them...)
So I thought that there had to be a better way of doing this...
We still wanted to ensure our clients wrote their statements properly, but I also wanted to give them a solution to these problems, and ultimately, help them write their statements better, and quicker.
I thought the most logical starting point was to look at our previously approved client Partner visa cases to see how their statements were written...
What did they say?
What did they leave out?
What did they talk about?
How did they peace their love story together?
What was the flow and order of their paragraphs?
solving the problem of what to write in their statements.
But there were still those other problems left unresolved.
So, we then took the past Relationship Statements we were analysing (again from successful cases) and re-wrote them ourselves.
solving the problem of how to write their statements.
Lucky last, we also wanted to find a way to get our clients writing their statements faster whilst at the same time, ensuring they maintained their quality.
With that objective in mind, we also created a Ready to Go Word Template, which ensured clients would follow a pre-set structure. All they had to do was start typing and they on their way to perfect relationship statements in half the time it would normally take...
solving the final problem of clients taking a very long time to write their statements.
We pieced all of these individual elements together and started giving it to our clients. We even gave it a name...
The Perfect Relationship Statement Guide & Template Pack 😊
And so, for a very long time, this resource was our little SECRET at Salvo Migration!