A parliamentary study done in Australia has revealed that prospective marriage visa candidates under the age of 18 years should not be allowed to travel to Australia for marriage purpose. Pursuant to this study, it will help prevent the minors from human trafficking and forced marriages.
The Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee of Australia has informed back to the Senate on its study of Prospective Marriage visa scheme that provides permission to 17-year olds to come to Australia and to get married to their Australian fiancées once they become 18 years.
In this connection, the committee suggested the lower age of the applicants to increase to 18 years, as it will reduce the risk of human trafficking and forced marriage. The said study has also mentioned that among 39,100 applications submitted between the year of2006 -2011, only 253 were from candidates under the age of 18. Among which, 227 applications were issued visa, along with one Thai candidate including her fiancée in the age brackets of 55-64 years.
Half of the sponsors in Australia were over eight years older than their partners and eleven were over twice of their age.
When the study found that this particular program was primarily not used by aged men to victim on young women, it said that more protections will help in stopping young applicants from becoming a victim of human trafficking or forced marriage.
At present, the Immigration and Citizenship Department of Australia is not keeping any statistical record on arranged marriages numbers in their online database. Hence, making a guess regarding the number of visa holders practically getting into the arranged marriage after arriving Australia is quite difficult.
On the whole, the committee comes to an end result that though there was no such need for absolute amendment of the Prospective Marriage visa scheme, yet suggested that some parts need reformation for providing better protection to the young applicants.
Besides, as the age limit is increased, the committee suggested the Immigration and Citizenship Department of Australia to do an investigation for finding out the forced marriages number in the country and the ways through which victims can be provided with necessary helped. Moreover, the new comers to Australia on Prospective Marriage visa should be informed about forced marriages and the acts on domestic violence while arriving in Australia.