Going to the Chapel? Changes to partner visas in the wake of the marriage equality law.
The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 was passed through Federal Parliament on the 7 December 2017 which changed the definition of Marriage under the Marriage Act 1961 from a union of ‘a man and a woman’ to a union of ‘2 people’. This change came into effect on 9 December 2017, allowing same sex couples to marry in Australia (subject to some other conditions, see https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/Getting-married.aspx).
The Migration Act 1958 (Cth) has also changed the definition of Spouse in line with changes to the Marriage Act, to allow for a spouse to be of the same or different sex.
A person in a relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealander can apply for an onshore partner visa (subclass 820/801) or offshore partner visa(subclass 309/100), or a prospective marriage visa (subclass 300, if you are outside of Australia). You can find more information on partner visas here:
Under the old law same sex couples could only apply for a partner visa on the basis that they could demonstrate they had been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months (rather than a spousal relationship). Now, same sex couples who are married can circumvent this 12-month de facto requirement. There are still substantial requirements as to proving a relationship, but same sex couples can now marry to demonstrate their commitment.
The other big change is same sex couples that plan to marry in Australia can now apply for a prospective marriage visa. It may be the case that a couple is in a genuine relationship and want to get married and set up a life in Australia, but the sponsor is in Australia and applicant is overseas (so they may not meet the criteria of a de facto relationship as required for a partner visa). It is a condition of the prospective marriage visa that the applicant travels to Australia and marries their partner within 9 months. They are then eligible to apply for a partner visa onshore.
So if you or anyone you know has applied for a same sex partner visa or is planing to get married to their partner and has had a visa refused or cancelled or has had any issues issues regarding how the changes may effect you book an appointment with us now.
Call 03 9614 0218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an initial 30 Minute consultation at our Melbourne office. (conditions apply)
For more go to www.arlaw.com.au
Note: this update, or any previous updates on this page, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please call our office to seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content on this page