My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

Category: Visas

Secret Weddings?

Chloe and I talk about the reality of why you might have a secret wedding if you marry a Korean.

We talked a little bit in the video about friends reactions and as Chloe said, questions about proposals and diamond rings, but I think people really don’t realise how hurtful some comments can be. Especially in western culture, we get so hung up on this idea of when the marriage started on paper that people can say some things without realising how frustrating and hurtful that can be. I’ve had extended family members try to insist that my office registry wedding was my only real wedding. That type of thinking really casts a shadow on the actual weddings we want to share with family and friends and are just inappropriate, because actually it’s our relationship and we get to choose when we publicly commit ourselves to each other. When people are forced by necessity to marry in a government office, others shouldn’t try to lessen that just because it’s not how they expect a marriage to start. From what I’ve seen from other international couples we know, is that regardless of how the marriage started or if there had to be a secret office registry wedding, they are all happy with the choices they made.



Okay so why would someone ask something like this? Because it actually happens a lot here. A lot of fake marriages for visas happen. Of course my husband was offended that his co-worker assumed that his marriage was fake, because there are lots of love matches too where people end up with residency as well.

When we were putting our visa together we had to have soooo much evidence, it was very invasive and time consuming. And while we were doing it I was constantly reminded that we had to show so much evidence because of the people who have fake marriages.

So why do people do it? Some people just desperately want to live in Australia and some people just will do anything for money. A friend of mine knew a guy who was in his 20’s but paid a 40 year old Australian woman to marry him. We know  of lots of other incidents as well. It makes me angry and frustrated that those people who do it just make it harder for everyone that is in a genuine and committed relationship.

Because immigration has the huge job of sorting through partner visa applications, trying to decide which is real and which is fake, it takes longer for everyone and basically those with genuine relationships have their lives are on hold while they wait.

I honestly don’t know how people manage it. You get reviewed after 2 years and have to prove you are in a committed and ongoing relationship, but somehow people manage to fake it.

In conclusion, it’s not nice when people assume that because I’m an Australian woman that my husband must have paid to marry me and our marriage is a sham.

I hope anyone who has seen our blog can see our relationship is very real 🙂

Hyde Park Barracks Video

This was filmed before we came to Korea. We are taking advantage of fast Korean internet speeds and uploaded as much stuff as we can. So let’s take a break from all the Korean stuff and go back to Australia for a short time!

We have visited Hyde Park Barracks before and it wasn’t that scary, but when we went the other week it was such a rainy miserable day and it made the Barracks seem really scary! There weren’t that many people when we went and it was quite eerie being in old rooms that once housed convicts.

We thought we’d give you a video with some Australian history because videos are going to be all Korea for a while.

Some people might already know a bit about Australian history but I hope we can impart a little bit of information for those that don’t. I think it’s important to understand that most convicts weren’t bad people. Usually they were born into poverty and resorted to crime to survive. Around the time that convicts were first sent to Australia there were over 200 crimes in Britain punishable by death. This was because of the Bloody Code (when there were very harsh punishments for many minor crimes) but by the 1800’s the death penalty was thought to be too harsh, so transportation (sent to Australia) was seen as the best alternative.

Until recent decades there was a stigma about having convict ancestors, but these days people are quite interested and proud of it. I think I have an ancestor who came out on the Second Fleet. Her crime was very minor as well. I think it might have been just stealing bread or a piece of fabric.

By the 1840’s convicts were no longer being transported to Sydney, so Hyde Park Barracks became an immigration depot for mostly young single Irish women (Ireland was devastated by famines). These women, most had lost their families, waited at the Hyde Park Barracks until they were hired for their services. Then in the 1850’s the barracks were used to house the newly arrived wives and children of convicts. In the 1860’s it was a government asylum for sick and destitute women and then eventually it became government offices until 1979.

What is really interesting about this building is that it is a museum about itself as well. On display are so many objects that were found in the building, particularly under floorboards. Things like pipes, clothing, games… you can see all these things there, as well as the tunnels made by rats over many many decades.

I really love history so I can go on for ages. We didn’t want to make a video that was like a documentary which is why a lot of serious stuff was cut out and we left the silly stuff in. But I hope you enjoyed because we like doing stuff like this and we hope we can show more about both Australian and Korean culture.


Our Visa Story

We had planned to get the ‘Prospective Marriage Visa’ originally- when we first got engaged. My husband had used up all possible visas for Australia: both working holiday visas and student visas. The only way he could stay in Australia was if he got a visa because I’m an Australian citizen. While we were in Korea for a month I started preparing for the Prospective Marriage Visa. The information and requirements are immense and takes a while to wade through.

So that is our visa story! It is one of the biggest problems for couples that are from different countries. People don’t really understand how stressful it is unless they’ve been through it themselves. Although we got married then, we didn’t really count it as our real wedding yet. We didn’t become a real married couple until our big wedding. Both our parents were really supportive through it all and had no problems with us marrying quickly like that.

You do hear stupid comments from other people though. Some people seem to get weirdly annoyed when someone is given residency based on their relationship. And if someone marries to hurry along the visa process well….. watch out for stupid comments! You’ll hear people saying “There are other ways to get into Australia.” No there isn’t. It is really difficult to get sponsorship to stay in Australia. There is not just some miracle visa people can apply for to stay… the only way my husband could live in Australia was through his relationship to me.

Some Australians seem to think that it’s really easy to get into Australia! But of course anyone who has tried to go through the rigmarole of Australian Immigration knows otherwise. And if you marry someone from another country some people are suspicious. There were even comments from extended family members about how my husband would leave me after a few years because he was just using me to get into Australia…. Yup. A lot of stupid comments.

Not only is it difficult because of judgmental people but because there really are people who do fake marriages to get residency. Because of this, the process of getting this visa is upsetting and invasive. We had to show personal emails, photos, phone records… details of your life that are just between you and your partner you have to submit to some faceless immigration officer in an office!

One of the most frustrating aspects is that most people simply do not understand what you have to go through. If you complain about all the intimate details Immigration wants someone will just say, “But they need it for a reason.” They really do not understand how horrible the process is. We spent weeks and weeks spending almost every day putting together our application. My husband was on a tourist visa, he could not work, he could not study and technically he could be kicked out of the country if Immigration wanted to do that. Our backup plan, if he didn’t get the visa, was for me to just pack up my life and move to Korea with him. Not that ideal.

In the end we were so lucky. Most people wait months, some even years, before their visa is granted. My husband’s visa being granted in just 3 days was amazing!

If you are going through this visa process at the moment, I sympathize!

So we actually had three weddings. The registry office one in Australia to prove to Immigration that we were serious, our Australian wedding for all our family and friends and then our traditional Korean wedding in Korea. So question is… which anniversary should we celebrate???

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