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Increase in Visa Application Charges, driving rise in applications without expert advise?

There are suggestions that the increased costs in Visa Application Charges (VAC) are forcing partner visa applicants to attempt what can be a complicated application process without any professional assistance. This, according to Robyn Oyeniyi is leading to a greater number of partner visa refusals.

“I have heard it said many applications prepared by the couple without professional guidance/assistance are manifestly inadequate and lead to refusals. This alone is often why a later professionally prepared appeal is successful.” says Robyn Oyeniyi, a prominent human rights campaigner and author of the book, Love versus Goliath.

“Perhaps the increase in refusals is due to an increase in couples preparing their own applications and I suggest this may well be driven by the increase in Partner Visa Fees.

Couples struggling to meet the budget …may well decide to do their application themselves to save the professional fees. Of course, this becomes self-defeating as then they are left with the additional costs of an appeal process,” she notes in her blog.

Offshore applications especially from ‘high risk’ countries; the couples age differentials; and relationships that are under 3 years are often cited as the key reasons for refusals. The onus is on the applicant to convince the decision-maker with compelling evidence that there is a ‘genuine relationship’.

Accordingly, the inability of applicants to present convincing applications has resulted in more refusals but she notes that while the number of MRT appeals are increasing, there has however been a fall in the proportion of visa refusals being appealed (compared to application numbers): “For the last three years (ended June 30, i.e. excluding the current part year) the percentage has dropped: 23% down to 18% then down to 17%. Is the drop from 23% to 18% linked directly to the fee increases? Couples just don’t have the money left to fight?”