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Hi guys,

I was wondering if I could obtain some advice about the 189 visa + defacto partner. I am due to receive an invite for the 189 visa in November and am currently in a defacto relationship with my long-time partner (2 years).

I need some advice on the defacto 12-month living requirement rule and if my evidence is sufficient.

12-month living requirement

From October 2016 to August 2018, relationship was mostly long-distance. Because my partner was studying in the UK whilst I was completing my studies in Australia, it wasn't at best interest for both of us to quit our courses to live together for a year. He graduated only in June 2018 and me in Dec 2017.

However, we have visited each other as frequently as possible, of which we have flight tickets and pictures to prove, and lived together for these visits. These visits were:

1 visit (16 days) in 2016
4 visits (152 days) in 2017
2 visits (42 days) till August 2018

As you can see, this amounted to about 7 months of "living together" whilst we were in a long-distance relationship.

After my graduation, I worked in Australia till August 2018 on a 485 visa, whilst waiting for a confirmation to complete a research Masters in the UK (so that we can live together). Currently, I have been accepted to do a research Masters in the UK where my partner is based and I have been living with him on a permanent basis since mid August 2018.

Evidence of relationship

- Financial:
a) one-year evidence of joint bank account statements (2017)
b) joint savings account for period of 6 months (I deposited money for our "future" when I was working) (2018)
c) joint utility and internet bills (since August 2018)
d) joint travel and car insurances (2017 and 2018)

- Social:
a) Numerous pictures with family + friends
b) Joint travel flight tickets, Hotel and Airbnb bookings
c) Joint graduation photos
d) Joint "gaming photos" (we play online games together)
e) Can get friends to do statements for us, have 2 friends willing to complete a stat dec.

- Commitment:
a) Evidence of skype calls and whatsapp messages when we were apart from Oct 2016 to Aug 2018
b) Receipt for rings bought in Apr 2017.
c) Beneficiaries on superannuation accounts
d) Birthday cakes, presents and cards we bought/wrote for each other
e) Commitment to close the gap in our relationship with my application and acceptance to study for my Masters in the UK
f) Flight tickets detailing our visits during our university breaks (Oct 2016 to Aug 2018)

- Nature of household
a) Written evidence from landlord stating that we are tenants (no joint lease arrangements)
b) Partner pays for groceries + utilities + rental in the UK, I have evidence of bank transfer to him for my share.
c) Utility and internet bills addressed in joint names, evidence of individual correspondence to our address in the UK and in Australia (limited)

However, we did not register our relationship before I left Australia and unfortunately, none of us live in Australia at present moment so we don't qualify. It would be impossible for us to register our relationship in the UK as we are not UK citizens, or in our home country (defacto relationships are not recognised).

At this instance, I am not sure if we would be rejected by the DHA as we have not lived together for a year. We would have lived together for around 11 months (i.e. 7 months non-continuous and 4 months continuous) when I lodge my application in Jan. I'm also not sure how the DHA would view the long-distance relationship - although we have had compelling circumstances due to university education and we have tried to close the gap by making visits as frequently as possible and closing the distance gap permanently in August this year (when it was feasible).

At this stage. I am considering suspending my 189 EOI for an invite in December, and wait till February to submit my documents after receiving an invite. We would then have lived together for a year (although not on a continuous basis). Would this be a good idea, or would our university studies be a compelling circumstance for the DHA? How would our relationship be viewed by the DHA for the 189 visa in light of the evidence that we have?

Many thanks,
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