In December 2017, Australians voted Yes to same-sex marriage after 61.6% of close to 13 million respondents backed the proposal. New changes to immigration laws now allow same-sex partners to apply for partner visas. Just days following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia, the federal government broadened the category of applicants for a partner visa to include same-sex couples. Here’s what you need to know about the changes.
A change to the Marriage Act now allows full equality in Migration Law, a positive outcome for many migrants in same-sex relationships. With the first same-sex marriages taking place from 9th January this year, same-sex partners who are married will be able to have their marriage recognised when applying for a partner visa in Australia..
The Department of Home Affairs has updated its application process to allow same-sex partners to apply for Partner visas (subclasses 100, 309, 801 and 820) and a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300).
Any person in a same-sex marriage can apply for a visa as their partner’s ‘spouse’ rather than as their ‘de facto partner’. The changes will apply to Partner visas (subclasses 100, 309, 801 and 820), and to all other visas where you can include your spouse in the application. Prior to this, same-sex marriage was not legally recognised in Australia and this wasn’t an option.
Migrants in same-sex relationships with Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents should also have easier access to the Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa. You can apply for this visa if you are in a same-sex relationship and genuinely intend to marry your prospective spouse in Australia.
Prior to that, same-sex partners had to apply for a partner visa and meet stricter criteria to prove the existence of a ‘de facto relationship’. These requirements for same-sex partners to prove that they’re in a genuine relationship has been tough on couples and could often end up being a much longer and expensive process as well.
Same-sex couples only had access to the Subclass 309/100 and 820/801 Partner visas based on a de facto relationship only. They were required to prove that they have lived together as a de facto couple for at least 12 months immediately before the application or alternatively to register their relationship as a Civil Union or Partnership.
Not legally recognising the relationship between same-sex couples has been a significant disadvantage, especially when they can’t live together for whatever reason or where one of them does not have a visa to live in Australia with their partner. This also impacted on same-sex couples who got married overseas, who can now have their marriage recognised equally under Australian law, and add or include their same-sex spouse, in their visa application.
A change of the Marriage Act will allow full equality in Migration Law.
Do you need any help with your visa application or understanding Migration Law?
Our registered Migration Agent, Andrew Woo (MARN 1383628) has helped numerous migrants negotiate the intricate Migration Act 1958, to begin their new life in Australia.
At Taylor & Scott Lawyers we have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to make the visa application process as quick, cost-effective and easy as possible with professional advice from our registered Migration Agents.
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