13th July 2016
Sharmini Subramaniam, Aitken Partners
The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for employers in Australia to sponsor skilled workers from overseas. The duration is up to 4 years and the person can bring their family with them. So what happens in the event of the breakdown of a relationship? This case study provided by MSI's law member firm Aitken Partners (Melbourne) provides some insight into this matter.
The parties marry in China and the Husband comes to Australia on a 457 visa in 2013. A year later, the Wife and children follow. During an argument involving family violence, the Police intervene and obtain an Intervention Order against the Husband. The Wife and children leave the home and the Husband does not know their location and has no communication with them for over a year. The Husband’s project abruptly ends and he is required to leave Australia within weeks with the Wife and children’s visas being cancelled upon his return to China.
To prevent such a drastic situation, action should be taken by the parties immediately following separation. The dilemma for those on 457 visas and their spouses is that many do not know whom to turn to for assistance, due to social and cultural isolation. However, if legal assistance is available what can be done?
For the Wife:
For the Husband:
As at 31 March 2016, there were 97,770 people in Australia on 457 visas, meaning there is the potential for this kind of situation to become a real problem. Therefore, it is imperative for those on 457 visas to have access to legal advice and support should or when the need arises.