Overseas de facto relationships: How can a person bring their partner to Australia?

Publish Date: Mar 05, 2014

It’s probably not too far-fetched to suggest that Australia is an attractive place to live: the weather is gorgeous (most of the time), it’s relatively safe, and the economy is performing quite well when compared to the rest of the world. With all the positive attributes associated with living in the country, it is perhaps of little surprise that people from other nations would also wish to migrate here. There are many different visa options available for someone wishing to settle here, whether they are skilled migrants, refugees, students, or family members, visa options are available to a wide range of people depending on the personal circumstances. However, with that being said, there’ll be many people that will also have de facto partners overseas, whether they are holders of permanent or student visas, and the pertinent question that needs to be asked is: What are the requirements for bringing a de facto partner to Australia? Well, similar to de facto relationships here in Australia, if a sponsor wishes to bring their de facto partner into the country, then the one year relationship requirement must be met, along with other associated considerations.

What is the one year relationship requirement?

The one year relationship requirement is exactly what it sounds like: an applicant who wishes to bring their partner to the country must provide evidence of a relationship that covers a period of at least 12 months before the submission of the visa application.

The evidence required, echoes some of the domestic de facto relationship laws, namely, the couple must:

·         demonstrate a commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of others;

·         the relationship is genuine and continuing;

·         the couple is living together on a permanent basis, and not separately and apart from one another.

Generally speaking, a couple living together is a common requirement, however, if a couple aren’t living together, then there may be more stringent evidentiary requirements to show that the parties aren’t living separately and apart from one another.

Applications of this nature apply to all applications made either here or overseas, however, de facto relationships for refugee or humanitarian visas are exempt if the sponsor has made a declaration that the visa being applied for was for either a refugee or humanitarian visa, and the declaration was also made at the time of application.

What evidence may be considered to demonstrate proof of the relationship?

Some of the evidence that may be considered when demonstrating the nature of the relationship, can be proof of a shared financial commitment, such as holding of a joint bank account, ownership of property with one another, and evidence that is personal in nature; such as shared responsibility or care of a child of the relationship, or knowledge of personal information regarding one another, and further evidence can be statutory declarations from friends and acquaintances regarding the nature of the relationship.

Again, these requirements are similar to the same type of evidence used to show a de facto relationship, domestically.

Can the one year relationship requirement be waived?

Upon demonstration by the applicant of a compelling or compassionate reason why the requirement is not necessary, the one year relationship requirement may be waived.

Evidence that may be taken into account can include a child which is the result of the relationship, or if it is a same sex relationship, then the parties can show that living with one another was not possible in the country of residence – then it may be possible that the one year relationship requirement can be waived.

What if I met someone over the internet?

One of the benefits of the internet is that we’re able to ‘meet’ people from around the world, and not surprisingly, people can develop close bonds with one another, even if they are from different countries. However, in terms of the one year relationship requirement, the contact with one another over the internet prior to a physical meeting is usually not included as evidence of the one year relationship requirement period.

What happens if an application is refused?

Applicants who have made an application within Australia which is refused, can appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal for a review of the decision. Alternatively, the sponsor has the right of review to the Migration Review Tribunal as well, if an application was made outside of the country. 

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