Change is inevitable, and in July 2023, the Australian government introduced a revised version of Form 888 for partner visa applications. However, an intriguing question arises regarding the validity of this new form for individuals who are barred by section 48 of the Migration Act 1958. While the new form no longer requires a prescribed witness, it still falls short of satisfying the necessary statutory declaration requirement.
In this article, we explore the potential implications of this change and advise those who are section 48 barred to consider submitting an actual statutory declaration instead of the new Form 888.
What is section 48 bar and why does it matter?
Section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 aims to enforce compliance with visa conditions and uphold the integrity of Australia's immigration system. It stipulates that a person who does not hold a substantive visa will be subject to a bar on making further visa applications while they remain in Australia if they were refused a visa application, or their last substantive visa was cancelled since their last entry into Australia. To put it into simple words, it means that they are prohibited from applying for certain visas while they are physically present in Australia if they are affected by section 48 bar.
Section 48 Bar, Form 888 and Partner Visa Application
The Migration Regulations 1994 says for the partner visa application:
“if the applicant is a person to whom section 48 of the Act applies, the applicant … must provide, at the same time and place as making the application, 2 statutory declarations …”
The relevance of section 48 to the discussion surrounding the validity of the new Form 888 lies in the fact that, prior to the revision, the old Form 888 served as a means for section 48 barred applicants to meet the valid application criteria for partner visas. However, with the introduction of the revised form, questions arise regarding its adequacy in satisfying the requirements for section 48 barred applicants.
A statutory declaration holds legal weight, as it is a written statement confirmed to be true and accurate before a prescribed authority. This requirement ensures the integrity and reliability of the information provided, offering confidence to the decision-makers assessing visa applications. By omitting the statutory declaration aspect from the new Form 888, a vital component of the validity criteria for section 48 barred applicants remains unaddressed.
As of the date of this article, the Department of Home Affairs has not clarified how a section 48-barred applicant would satisfy this validity requirement.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the validity of the new Form 888, it is prudent for those who are section 48 barred and planning to make an onshore partner visa application to consider submitting an actual statutory declaration. Although the revised form may seem convenient, it is essential to prioritize meeting the requirements to avoid potential setbacks – an INVALID visa application.
Navigating the intricacies of immigration law can be complex, and the recent changes to Form 888 have added an extra layer of uncertainty. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that Section 48 barred applicants consult with our experienced immigration lawyer or a registered migration agent.
MEA possess the knowledge and expertise to provide accurate guidance tailored to individual circumstances, ensuring the best possible chance of a successful partner visa application.Seek professional advice today!
Please note that the above content is for general information only; it is not immigration advice and must not be construed as such. While we have taken appropriate steps to ensure that the content is up-to-date and correct, due to frequent changes in immigration laws, there is no guarantee that the information is current and accurate. Everyone’s situation is different, and MEA is not responsible for the loss caused by your personal or third-party visa application due to reading this article.