Visa requirements set to change after Australia votes in favour of same sex marriage

by Ray Clancy on November 23, 2017

in Australia Immigration

Same sex couples should be able to use marriage certificates from overseas to apply for visas to live together in Australia early next year.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants the new legislation to legalise same sex marriage to become law by the end of this year. It is not clear when the change will come in but according to immigration agents marriage licenses already issued overseas must be recognised.

Same Sex Marriage

(Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com)

Experts say that once it does married same sex couples will be eligible for spousal visas, opening up opportunities for couples who had previously been separated by visa requirements.

Currently the Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300) allows people to come to Australia to marry their fiancé. Once the visa is granted they must marry and apply for a Partner Visa (subclass 820 and 801) before the Prospective Marriage Visa expires.

The cost of the Prospective Marriage Visa is $7,000 and it normally lasts for nine months. Applicants must be 18 years old and currently the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website says an applicant must be ‘the opposite sex to your prospective spouse’ and clearly this will need to be changed.

Same sex couples have been eligible for a Partner Visa and for this they have to prove they are in long term relationships by providing evidence of living together, without the official backing of a marriage certificate.

It can also take some time for a visa to be granted. The most up to date figures from the DIBP show that processing times can vary. Some 75% of applications are processes within 13 months and 90% within 18 months.

The Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force (GLITF) is urging couples to take their time and wait until the changes are made. According to Roman Deauna, GLITF president, there has been a spike in inquiries since the positive vote on same sex marriage.

He warned that there is still a culture of scepticism among officials. ‘You would not believe how many married partner visa applications by straight people are assessed by officials as being contrived,’ he said.

He explained that there are a lot of people who might be misled into thinking that as they can now get married they should put a visa application in. ‘Immigration officials still have to be subjectively convinced that your relationship is real, and the wait times are now are up to a year and a half,’ he pointed out.

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