21 April 2009

Important changes to same-sex relationships for Australian visa applicants

Recent changes to Australian visa legislation means that interdependent partners ( same-sex partners) will soon be able to apply for all Australian visas that are currently available for opposite-sex spouses and de facto spouses.

As of 01 July 2009, interdependent partners (same-sex de facto partners) applying for an Australian visa will have the same entitlements as opposite-sex de facto and spousal partners.  Further, family member entitlements have been extended for same-sex de facto relationships, meaning that same-sex de facto partners and their dependent children will be recognised as being members of the same family unit.

As part of the changes, DIAC has amended the definition of spouse, de facto partner, parent and child, and member of the family unit.  The new definition of de facto partner applies to same-sex and opposite sex couples, while new definitions of parent and child include circumstances involving surrogacy and artificial conception.  The member of the family unit now also recognises same-sex de facto partners as family members.

Before the legislative changes take effect, interdependent partners of Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and permanent Australian residents can apply for an Interdependency Partner visa (subclasses 110,814, 826, and 310), while interdependent partners and their children can only be included on the Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa (subclass 457) or the General Skilled Migration visas (subclasses 175, 76, 475, 476, 485, 487, 885, 886, 887).

Australian visa applications lodged up to, and including, 30th June 2009 will be processed under existing legislation.

Australian citizenship legislation has also been amended, so that same-sex de facto couples have the same rights to Australian citizenship (via conferral) as opposite-sex couples.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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