Monday 21st of April 2014
Volume 297

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Happy Easter to everyone. smiling easter eggs outdoor in green


Today we revisit the existence of Relationship Registries and how useful they are for defacto couples. 


Relationship Registries - revisited 
Valentine Couple. Portrait of Smiling Beauty Girl and her Handsome Boyfriend making shape of Heart

A long time ago we discussed how the Relationship Register is a useful tool to avoid the usual 12 month relationship requirement when claiming to be a defacto partner in a application to the Immigration department (DIBP).


For permanent residency applications and some temporary visas (eg Student visas), if you are claiming to be a defacto partner you must have been in that relationship for at least 12 months immediately before the application is made. This usual 12 month period can be waived aside, if the applicant can demonstrate compelling or compassionate circumstances or if the relationship is registered in certain states/territories.


Currently the DIBP authorised laws regarding the register of relationships in particular state/territories can be viewed  here.


Many people believe it is necessary to have the relationship registered before the application is logded. Not so.


It is true that you must be in a defacto relationship at the time the application was made however the relationship registration its self does not need to have taken place.


If no compassionate or compelling circumstances exist, as long as the relationship is registered before a decision is made on your application, then there is no requirement to meet the standard 12 months relationship requirement before lodgement.


Here is a practicle example;


Bill and Jane who are not married, have been living together for just two months when Jane lodged her Partner 820/801 visa application, sponsored by Bill.


They lodged the application as a defacto couple for they don't feel the need to get legally married. However when they applied they did not realize that when applying as defacto couple there is a standard requirement that they have lived together in this relationship for at least 12 months before the application is lodged.


When Jane gets a case officer, an assessment is made that there are no compassionate and compelling circumstances which would allow a waiver of this 12 month requirement and as a result her application is refused. Jane then applies to the MRT for a review of this decision.


About 12 months later the MRT writes to Jane and points out to her that on the date she originally lodged her 820 visa she was not living in that relationship for 12 months and asks her to comment. Jane rushes off to a migration agent for advice.


The migration agent suggests to Bill and Jane that they immediately trot down to the NSW BDM Office and sign the Relationship Registry. By the day of Bill and Jane's hearing at the MRT they have obtained the Relationship Certificate by the BDM and present it to the MRT Member.


The MRT Member concludes they are in a genuine defacto relationship and this existed at the time of the application. Since their relationship is now registered there is not longer a requirement that they live together for the usual 12 months before the application was lodged.


Jane wins at the MRT and her 820 visa is eventually granted.


This scenario demonstrates that as long as the relationship is registered before an assessment is made of the application, a waiver of the usual 12 month requirement is granted. When an applicant appeals to the MRT this assessment procedure begins all over again that is why it is possible to present evidence of the registration well after the application was originally made.


You must carefully check the registration requirements for the state/territory where you live but in general you cannot sign the register if you are still legally married to another person. Bummer.


It is always important to remember when applying as a defacto partner, this does not mean living together as girlfriend boyfriend, boyfriend boyfriend or girlfriend girlfriend. Being a defacto partner is living together as if you were married and you have committed to your partner for the rest of your life. Those couples who tell the DIBP that you are living together for a couple years to see how things work out, will most likely fail in the application.


Portrait of a happy gay couple outdoors


Karl Konrad
Karl Konrad
I hope you are enjoying your Easter break for those of you in Australia.

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Karl Konrad 



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