Thursday Answers are a response to questions submitted by readers on our regular Ask Mondays posts.
Every Monday I ask people to send in their questions and concerns and I select one to answer. In doing this, I hope you will see that a) you’re not alone in this, b) there are no stupid questions and c) we’re all here to help!
Today’s question is about living together and travelling a lot for work.
Hi, I’m Australian and my partner is from the Philippines. We’ve been together for about 1.5 years now and I’ve lived with her on and off in the Philippines. I travel a lot for work (and I mean a lot!) so I haven’t been able to live with her for the full 12 months. I think if we add it all up we’ve been living together for 6 months. Will I still be able to bring my partner to Australia on a partner visa?
Sometimes travelling for work can be a blessing in disguise; my partner and I were able to fit in some ‘together’ time when we travelled to each other’s cities for work. But I guess in this case, you travelled away from your partner and for significant periods of time.
But wait there’s hope!
When people enter de-facto relationships the assumption is that they’ll live together (to the exclusion of others) because they’re committed to a long and genuine relationship. That’s why there is the 12 months rule, but in this day and age many couples will be faced with meeting this arbitrary time period. Whilst we live in a more interconnected and global world that has brought us together, it has also separated us.
The Department does recognise that there are circumstances that separate couples such as travelling for work or for religious reasons are not able to cohabit despite being in a relationship. There are multiple court cases that have challenged the notion of the 12 months rule and the ‘living together’ definition of a de-facto relationship. As a result, there is still hope for you if you haven’t lived with your partner for the full 12 months prior to applying.
It will then fall on you to prove that you were continued your loving and genuine relationship throughout the times that you were apart and that you were both committed to sharing a life together. A great example of this would be to show constant communication during this time.
You will also need to explain the circumstances that have kept you apart or that has given rise to the gap in living together. In your case, it is simply because of work commitments that have sent you to live in a different country and away from your partner.
It should also be noted that living together for 12 months is only but one of the requirements under the definition of a de-facto relationship. There are others that you need to satisfy too; namely the 4 aspects of a relationship. Although this may be the biggest obstacle in proving your relationship is a genuine and long standing one, don’t forget to address the other aspects as they are just as important. Remember the financial, social, nature of the household and nature of your commitment to each other. These are covered in detail in my book including which evidence is the strongest and how to explain it in a manner that makes sense to the case officer.
That concludes this week’s Thursday Answers.
Until next time,
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