Australia Has Legalised Same-Sex Marriage And This Means More Opportunities For You

rainbow same sex couples partner visa australia

 

I think it’s time to discuss the impact of Australia legalising same-sex marriages.

I’ve always been a staunch supporter of legalising same-sex marriages because for me, love is love. It’s also the very premise of me writing this book: love is love and not even a government should have any say as to where and how you spend your life with your partner.

So although Australia legalised same-sex marriages in December last year, I’ve been relatively silent on the matter.

In fact, because it was legalised in December and I wrote the revised second edition in November, I wouldn’t have had time to update the book.

But there is a HUGE impact on same-sex couples.

A whole new visa class has been opened up to same-sex couples: Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300).

The Prospective Marriage visa allows the applicant to come to Australia to marry their Australian spouse. The validity of the Prospective Marriage visa is 9 months, that is, you will be granted entry into Australia and within 9 months, have married your Australian spouse and applied for the partner visa onshore (subclass 820 and 801).

So as you can see, prior to Australia’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage, this category of visa was not available to same-sex couples. As there can be no marriage between same-sex couples, there can be no valid reason to grant a Prospective Marriage visa to same-sex couples.

Prior to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, same-sex couples could only apply for the partner visa onshore or offshore. To apply for the partner visa onshore the applicant would need a valid visa to enter Australia first before applying for the partner visa. Usually this is a tourist visa or another type of temporary visa such as a student visa or a temporary work visa.

However, for the unlucky few who were not eligible for tourist visas or couldn’t afford the student fees to get a student visa, there was no alternative to being onshore with their partner. They would simply have to apply for their partner visa offshore and wait there; away from their Australian partner.

Heterosexual couples or different-sex couples who did not meet the eligibility for a tourist visa, student visa or any other temporary visa, could apply for the Prospective Marriage visa to get onshore and be with their Australian partners. Then they could apply for the partner visa onshore, all while still being together with their Australian partner in Australia.

Now, with the legalisation of same-sex marriages, same-sex couples will also have this subclass available to them.

The eligibility threshold for Prospective Marriage visa seems lower than the one for partner visas but don’t get too comfortable because there’s still a lot of work to be done to prove a relationship and apply for the visa.

The requirements state that you and your prospective spouse must:

  • know and have met each other in person since both turning 18
  • not be related
  • intend to marry within nine months of the visa being granted
  • intend to live as spouses after you are married.
  • not be married to anyone when a decision is made on your visa application.

You’ll still need to undergo a health check and submit police checks and the price of this visa is substantially the same as the partner visa but it does mean there’s an additional pathway for same-sex couples.

As you can see, you still need to be able to demonstrate that you had a relationship before you intend to apply and an intention to continue the relationship after your visa has been granted. In particular, you need to prove that you intend to live as spouses after you’re married.

So how do you prove a relationship? That’s what the book is about. It focuses on the 4 aspects of the relationship according to the Department and it runs you through each and every aspect with examples and reasons why they’re good evidence or bad evidence.

There are many reasons that you might want to apply for a prospective marriage visa but bear in mind that although the eligibility seems like a lower bar to jump over, the processing time is still lengthy and after you have married your spouse, you need to apply for the partner visa in order to stay in Australia.

If there’s any doubts as to which one you should apply for, always consult a professional.