Read on for Paul and Hui’s newlywed visa story…
Paul didn’t know his new bride, Hui was in Australia unlawfully when they got married in Sydney.
It was six months later when the couple booked tickets to visit her family in Jilin, China that they realised they had a big problem.
“Letting your visitor visa expire and becoming unlawful is one of the worst things you can do. The government takes it very seriously. If you find yourself in this situation, get good advice. And fast.”
Alan Rigas, Hui’s immigration lawyer and newlywed visa specialist.
Hui had been in Australia unlawfully for 18 months after her three month holiday visa expired.
“One of the lawyers from Alan Rigas Solicitors came with us to see the people from the Department of Immigration. The meeting went for 1.5 hours – it was very long,” said Paul.
“I was scared immigration was going to snatch [deport] Hui. I didn’t want to live in China.”
“Hui’s city, Jilin, is big like Sydney but it’s very dirty. I kept thinking, what am I going to do, visit her twice a year in China on holidays?” said Paul.
Hui was granted a bridging visa to leave Australia. But during an interview with Australian immigration officials in Shanghai to re-enter the country a case officer asked Hui what she planned to do upon returning to Australia.
Hui said the newlyweds dreamed of opening a food business. The case officer used this comment to refuse Hui’s visa on the basis that the marriage wasn’t genuine.
“Hui didn’t do anything wrong. Case officers have a lot of discretion in how they choose to interpret an applicant’s responses to probing questions.
“Although department officials are objective many clients express concerns that they start from a negative position.”
Alan Rigas, Hui’s immigration lawyer.
Hui and Paul asked Alan Rigas Solicitors to review the case officer’s decision and it was overturned by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The couple now live in Ashfield, in Sydney’s inner west. Their home is filled with keepsakes from their favourite local hangouts. The décor is a testimony to their blended identities. A Socceroos scarf draped next to a lucky cat. Chinese lanterns adorn the ceiling. A map of Greece hangs next to a photo of their wedding celebration in Jilin.
“We are so grateful to Alan Rigas Solicitors. They made some very smart moves in relation to my circumstances. They did too much for us,” says Hui.
Hui’s adult son hopes to visit this summer. It will be his first trip to Australia. Alan Rigas Solicitors is organising his tourist visa application.
Our team of Sydney immigration lawyers have over 30 years experience helping people and businesses successfully achieve their visa and migration goals, including partner and newlywed visa issues.
To get help with visas and immigration issues, please contact Alan Rigas Solicitors on (02) 9635 5333.