Sep 2018 | Dowry used as 'harsh stick' by student visa holders, women's group says

Date: 2 Sep 2018

Source: The Canberra Times

An ACT women's organisation says some student visa holders and their families are demanding money, jewellery, real estate and cars from prospective partners in return for a life in Australia.

Initiatives for Women in Need has called for safeguards to protect vulnerable people from paying hefty dowries to the families of student visa holders, some of whom demand more and more from their partner upon arrival in Australia, making them particularly vulnerable to domestic violence.

Organisation chairwoman Madhumita Iyengar said she had dealt with many instances of such abuse in Canberra but emphasised it was not isolated to any particular migrant community.

"Unfortunately I cannot disclose how many because of privacy reasons, but there are quite a few cases. It’s a real thing that’s happening," Dr Iyengar said.

Student visa holders can apply for their spouse or de facto to travel to Australia as a secondary visa holder. There were arranged partnerships where this worked, Dr Iyengar said, and others where the couple tolerated each other until they could apply for permanent residency.