An Indian man who was seeking a partner visa under the family violence provisions of the migration law has lost his appeal with the court finding that the evidence provided by him did not prove that his former wife was the perpetrator of violence against him.

An Indian national who was seeking a partner visa after his former wife withdrew the sponsorship has had his appeal knocked back as he couldn’t provide sufficient evidence to prove that he was a victim of family violence.

37-year-old Mr Singh* first came to Australia in December 2013 on the basis of his marriage. But four months later, his wife withdrew the sponsorship for his visa saying she was no longer in a relationship with him due to “irreconcilable differences”.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (now the Department of Home Affairs) refused Mr Singh’s partner visa application in August 2014.

In the Migration Review Tribunal, he claimed he was a victim of domestic violence perpetrated by his wife. To support his claim, he presented a photograph of two of his fingers smeared with blood.

The Tribunal found that although Mr Singh was a credible witness, the evidence provided by him was not sufficient to establish that he was a victim of domestic violence.

He couldn’t provide any judicial or non-judicial evidence of domestic violence which is a requirement under the law.

The Tribunal noted that although Mr Singh had two years between the alleged incident of violence on 8 March 2014 and the date of hearing, he could present only the photo as evidence on the day his appeal was heard. However, the Tribunal said the evidence provided didn’t meet the requirements of the law.

Under Family violence provisions in the migration law, Partner visa applicants who can demonstrate they have suffered family violence can still get the visa even if the sponsor has withdrawn support for their application. However, the victims are required to show evidence that their relationship broke down due to family violence perpetrated by the sponsor.

The Tribunal, in February 2016, refused Mr Singh’s appeal for a partner visa finding that he did not meet the requirements of family violence provisions of the migration law.

He then appealed for a judicial review of the decision but the Federal Circuit Court on the basis that the Tribunal ignored his evidence. However, the court found that he had not been denied procedural fairness, and refused Mr Singh’s appeal on February 28th. He has also been ordered to pay $5,000 in legal costs.

The Court noted that information provided by the applicant did not support a conclusion that his former sponsor had been the alleged perpetrator of any relevant form of family violence.

Most Family violence visas go to Indians

Department of Home Affairs figures show 280 Indian nationals have received visas under the special family violence provisions of the migration law since 2012-13, which is more than any other nationality.

Top five nationalities of the primary visa applicants who were granted a visa on the basis of family violence. (Source- Department of Home Affairs)

During this period, the Department received the highest number of applications from Indian citizens – 367– claiming they suffered family violence.

Brisbane-based social worker Jatinder Kaur has been working with the victims of domestic violence in the Indian community for over two decades. She says while she has come across a few male victims, most of the family violence victims are women.

“Often, violence isn’t physical – it can be emotional, financial and controlling behaviour, and even men become victims,” Ms Kaur told SBS Punjabi.

“But largely, it is women who are subjected to family violence. I would say 90 to 95 per cent of DV [domestic violence] victims are female and 5-10 per cent are male,” she said.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, it has received a total of 3,547 such visa applications since 2012-13, and 2,733 visas have been issued.

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