The Australian Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee recently suggested that the marriage age of the immigrant should be increased to 18 years under the Prospective Marriage Visa. The committee urged to ban the applicants from travelling to Australia under 18 years of age. This might help protect minors from forced marriages and also minimize the rate of Human Trafficking.
As per the committee inquiry the Prospective Marriage visa allows 17 year old to migrate to Australia and marry their fiancée once they turn 18. Upon which the committee recommended the minimum immigrant age to be 18 years old to lower the risk of human trafficking.
However, the investigation report revealed that 227 out of 253 applicants got the visa during 2006 to 2011. Of which half of the Australian sponsors were eight years older to their partner, and few were twice the age. Besides the main aim, to investigate was to protect the younger applicants from being the victims of forced marriages.
Presently the Australia DIAC lack required statistical information of arranged marriages in their electronic database. Thus, it is difficult to get the total number of visa holders who entered into arranged marriage after arrival in Australia.
Overall the committee recommended for minor changes in the Prospective Marriage visa program to protect the younger applicants. It also recommended the DIAC to instruct applicants the definition of forced marriage and laws relating to family violence.