The Australian government has decided that some visa applicants, including those who wish to obtain a husband visa, wife visa, or fiancee visa, will now be required to sign a values statement as part of the application process, one which indicates that they understand and respect the conventions of Australian society. By signing this declaration, they also indicate that they will obey Australian laws. This new regulation applies to those seeking to obtain the following visas, which fall under the family migration and partner migration category:
- Subclass 801 permanent marriage visa
- Subclass 820 conditional spouse visa
- Subclass 300 prospective marriage visa
- Subclass 309 provisional spousal visa
- Subclass 100 permanent spouse visa
This new requirement was implemented on October 15, 2007. With the exception of individuals applying for visitor visas and those applying for visas that fall under the special category class, most applicants who are 18 years of age or older are now required to sign a values statement as part of the Australian immigration process.
The exact statement that must be signed depends on the type of migrant visa the applicant wishes to obtain. To be granted permanent, provisional, and certain types of temporary visas, applicants are required to either read or have someone else explain the contents of Life in Australia, a lengthy document prepared by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). The handbook outlines Australian values and beliefs, the nation’s history, facts about the education system, holidays celebrated in the country, and the importance of the English language in Australian society.
Once the applicant is familiar with the contents of the publication, they must sign a values statement. By signing, the visa applicant confirms not only that they have read the material, but also that they understand the nation’s values and will respect them during their time in the country, and that they understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Signing the statement also indicates that, upon being granted a visa, the applicant will be loyal to the country after their immigration to Australia. This values statement is now part of all family class visa applications.
Those applying for entry into Australia on humanitarian grounds are also required to sign the statement. However, this step is completed during the interview stage, when the contents of the handbook are explained to interview attendees who are at least 18 years of age. With the exception of a few types of temporary visas, applicants for visas falling under this category are not required to familiarize themselves with the contents of Life in Australia. However, they must read and sign a simple values statement. It indicates that they will respect the values that have been outlined in the application form, and that they will obey Australian laws during their stay.