Last updated: 16 March 2020
The Social Aspects Of The Relationship
Proving the social aspects of the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor requires more than just submitting photos.
There isn’t an exhaustive list on what is considered the social aspects of the relationship but the legislation has stated the following:
- whether the persons represent themselves to other people as being married to each other; and
- the opinion of the persons’ friends and acquaintances about the nature of the relationship; and
- any basis on which the persons plan and undertake joint social activities; and
When the legislation explicitly says something, you listen up and you better be sure to answer each and every point because you know the case officer will be assessing you against them.
So let’s go through what each point means and help you answer how to give details of the social aspects of the relationship.
Whether the persons represent themselves to other people as being married to each other
Although this point references spouses/married couples (remember, same-sex marriage is legal in Australia so this applies for same-sex married couples too), it equally applies to de-facto partners. There’s a corresponding point in the definition section regarding de-facto couples.
At the minimum, this point is asking whether the applicant and sponsor show up as a couple or present to the outside world that they’re together in a committed and exclusive relationship.
This means that you could describe meeting family and friends and introducing your partner as your partner. If you’re introducing your partner as a friend or if your friends only know at the end of the night that you two are together, chances are the case officer will not believe that you’re in a genuine and committed married or de-facto relationship.
The opinion of the persons’ friends and acquaintances about the nature of the relationship
This is the part where your supporting witness statements (aka Form 888s) will come in handy because they will be able to corroborate whether you represent yourselves as being married to each other or in a de-facto relationship with each other.
Notice how acquaintances are included in this. This means pretty much anyone who knows you and your partner currently should think that you two are married or in a de-facto relationship.
When your supporting witnesses are writing their statements or Form 888s they should be careful in what words they use to describe the applicant and sponsor because you need to show the case officer that your relationship is beyond dating.
The book provides many questions to help your supporting witnesses in writing their Form 888s and gives you samples of good and bad Form 888s so that they can see what to avoid and what to include.
Any basis on which the persons plan and undertake joint social activities
“Social activities” can be defined very broadly but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. For all the introverted couples, have no fear, you can still prove this point about your relationship.
The case officer is really looking for whether you do things together as a couple and generally if you hang out with each other. Once again, a distinction should be made between whether you’re an exclusive couple doing social activities together or whether you are housemates that play a regular game of rugby on the weekend.
The number one social activity would be to travel together. Extended periods away with each other are good evidence that the applicant and the sponsor likes each other. Doing activities together on the weekend could prove to the case officer that you’re not coworkers. What I’m trying to get you to write is how does your social activities as a couple differ from social activities that you would do with friends or coworkers.
The book goes through a few of these confusing scenarios and how you can really distinguish your relationship from one that is more common of a friendship. Basically, I’ll show you what others have written so that you can understand that you shouldn’t be describing a friendship, but instead a committed, exclusive and genuine married or de-facto relationship.
The Australian Partner Visa Guide provides samples, examples of evidence and answers to the question
The social aspects of the relationship are not hard because you probably already spend all your time together. However, writing about the social aspects of your relationship may be difficult when it could end up sounding like you’re just really good friends who do a lot of things together. Worse still, it could sound like you’re coworkers or housemates.
The book provides you with examples on what has been written previously by successful and unsuccessful visa applicants and it also provides you with a helpful guide on how to organise your evidence. There’s nothing worse than disorganised and disjointed evidence that the case officer has to piece together themselves.
The book also has handy prompting questions for the applicant, sponsor and supporting witnesses with some sample answers that could help you write your statutory declarations, personal written statements or Form 888s.
Download the sample to see what’s inside or get access instantly so that you can get cracking on preparing the most successful partner visa application ever.