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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I'm hoping some of you generous people might be able to offer some guidance for my partner and I. I'm an Australian citizen and my partner is Mongolian, we are in our early- to mid-twenties, we are a same-sex couple, and we are interested in eventually making an application for a Partner Temporary Visa (not sure yet whether we'll apply onshore or offshore).

We have been living together in an apartment in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, since late December, 2012. We met back in June, 2012 when I visited Mongolia for a month. I will need to return to Australia in late January, 2014 to re-commence my studies. By that time, we'll have been in a de facto relationship (in our view) for 13 months.

We are very keen to ensure our application will be successful, so we want to start arranging our affairs now to give ourselves the greatest chance possible. Unfortunately, being a same-sex couple in Mongolia makes fulfilling many requirements difficult. In Mongolia, homosexuality is pretty much taboo. We live a secret life. For example:

  • The apartment we have is not in both our names
  • No bills are in both our names
  • We don't have shared bank accounts, loan accounts or a mortgage
  • His family doesn't know about us (they don't know I exist)

Much of this is because suspicion must not be raised about us. It could seriously damage my job here in Mongolia and, for my partner, spell the end of his relationship with all his family and friends, and could easily endanger him. However, there are many things about our relationship that could evidence a 'genuine relationship' and a 'mutual commitment':

  • We share food and cleaning expenses (but I pay all rental and utilities expenses)
  • We have been on two trips to China together, and have all the tickets, photos, hotel receipts and ATM withdrawals to show that (these trips were to solve a very bad Mongolian visa problem, and of course my partner came with me to make sure I would be okay. He missed the very important Lunar New Year holiday with his family to accompany me)
  • We plan to travel together to Russia this summer, so will have all the associated evidence for this trip, too
  • We do plenty of domestic things together such as visiting museums, landmarks and seeing shows
  • We have Facebook conversations and phone messages
  • He helps me with day-to-day life in Mongolia mainly in situations where Mongolian language is needed, such as, setting up a bank account, internet, cable TV
  • My parents and my sister know about us, and my parents have met him via Skype
  • I help him with his English (although he is already quite good) and he helps me with Mongolian language

There are many more things we want to do, such as put each other in our respective wills, perhaps open a joint savings account with a Mongolian bank (we can pass off our suspicious joint names as just being a desire to meet the minimum deposit requirements), make him a beneficiary of my superannuation, receive cards/letters from family and friends in Australia, etc.

So generally, what do you think our chances are (I know it's early)? What more can we do to show we actually live together/combine our affairs, given all the difficulties here in Mongolia? Because we are both young will immigration be less likely to see us as a genuine couple? We don't have that much money or assets, given we're still young, so might immigration not be satisfied that I can, as the sponsor, provide for my partner (I should have a job when I get back to Australia)?

Sorry for the length of this, but our unusual situation maybe warrants it. Any guidance people could offer would be hugely welcomed.
 

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Hello everyone. I'm hoping some of you generous people might be able to offer some guidance for my partner and I. I'm an Australian citizen and my partner is Mongolian, we are in our early- to mid-twenties, we are a same-sex couple, and we are interested in eventually making an application for a Partner Temporary Visa (not sure yet whether we'll apply onshore or offshore).

We have been living together in an apartment in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, since late December, 2012. We met back in June, 2012 when I visited Mongolia for a month. I will need to return to Australia in late January, 2014 to re-commence my studies. By that time, we'll have been in a de facto relationship (in our view) for 13 months.

We are very keen to ensure our application will be successful, so we want to start arranging our affairs now to give ourselves the greatest chance possible. Unfortunately, being a same-sex couple in Mongolia makes fulfilling many requirements difficult. In Mongolia, homosexuality is pretty much taboo. We live a secret life. For example:

  • The apartment we have is not in both our names
  • No bills are in both our names
  • We don't have shared bank accounts, loan accounts or a mortgage
  • His family doesn't know about us (they don't know I exist)

Much of this is because suspicion must not be raised about us. It could seriously damage my job here in Mongolia and, for my partner, spell the end of his relationship with all his family and friends, and could easily endanger him. However, there are many things about our relationship that could evidence a 'genuine relationship' and a 'mutual commitment':

  • We share food and cleaning expenses (but I pay all rental and utilities expenses)
  • We have been on two trips to China together, and have all the tickets, photos, hotel receipts and ATM withdrawals to show that (these trips were to solve a very bad Mongolian visa problem, and of course my partner came with me to make sure I would be okay. He missed the very important Lunar New Year holiday with his family to accompany me)
  • We plan to travel together to Russia this summer, so will have all the associated evidence for this trip, too
  • We do plenty of domestic things together such as visiting museums, landmarks and seeing shows
  • We have Facebook conversations and phone messages
  • He helps me with day-to-day life in Mongolia mainly in situations where Mongolian language is needed, such as, setting up a bank account, internet, cable TV
  • My parents and my sister know about us, and my parents have met him via Skype
  • I help him with his English (although he is already quite good) and he helps me with Mongolian language

There are many more things we want to do, such as put each other in our respective wills, perhaps open a joint savings account with a Mongolian bank (we can pass off our suspicious joint names as just being a desire to meet the minimum deposit requirements), make him a beneficiary of my superannuation, receive cards/letters from family and friends in Australia, etc.

So generally, what do you think our chances are (I know it's early)? What more can we do to show we actually live together/combine our affairs, given all the difficulties here in Mongolia? Because we are both young will immigration be less likely to see us as a genuine couple? We don't have that much money or assets, given we're still young, so might immigration not be satisfied that I can, as the sponsor, provide for my partner (I should have a job when I get back to Australia)?

Sorry for the length of this, but our unusual situation maybe warrants it. Any guidance people could offer would be hugely welcomed.
We get a lot of first-time questions here, Mezzanotte, but yours was particularly well-researched in advance, so I wanted to say thank you for that!

I know you said you don't have a joint lease (and for good reason), but can you provide envelopes from mail coming addressed to both of you at the same address? That would help prove your living together.

Keep on keeping your evidence - even down to movie tickets, etc. If only one of you has family/friends that knows about you as a couple, it's good that it's you, the Australian, because you'll need people for your Form 888s.

Don't worry too much about finances - as long as you can explain to Immi how you plan to support yourselves (put it in a statutory declaration), that should be enough. If your financial situation is particularly difficult (i.e., you'd need to live with family), it would also be helpful to have a statutory declaration from a family member stating they'll support you both if necessary.

On the whole, I think if you have some kind of evidence of living together (the mail I talked about, for example) your chances are good, especially if you explain to Immi in your statements why you can't be more open about your relationship. You are by far not the only ones out there, I assure you. In some places it's even more dangerous... I'm sure Immi is used to these issues by now.

I wish you the best of luck. Do post if you have more questions. :)
 
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I would say "register your relationship to waive the 12 month living-together requirement," but... I don't think that can be done from outside Australia. I think you both have to be living in a state in Australia that allows that.

I'm not 100% on that, though.
 

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Great response collegeGirl. To add on top of that DIAC has a list of gay hostile countries so they should know about Mongolian situation and be more liniment with you. It doesn't hurt to put a cover letter and explain everything, just so your CO has the background.
It should be fine, just collect as much evidence as possible.

This is not an immigration advice
 

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I would also concentrate on ways you conclusively prove that you are a couple and not mates in a flat. Does the flat only have one bedroom? Try to register the relationship in Oz if you can. Save anniversary/birthday cards that you give each other. Save any mail you get addressed to both of you - like letters from friends/family back home - and, yes, unfortunately in this electronic world that probably means requesting that they send you real mail once in a while. (I hate the visa process.) wills and putting each other as beneficiaries on life insurance/superannuation/bank accounts will help heaps. Also save any forms where you have to list him as your de facto/ emergency contact (it may not come up in your situation, but keep your eyes peeled).

Since immigration is aware you're not in a gay-friendly culture, you should be fine. But since you have so much time to prepare, just keep it always in the back of your mind. You never know what might turn out to be useful!
 

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I would also concentrate on ways you conclusively prove that you are a couple and not mates in a flat. Does the flat only have one bedroom? Try to register the relationship in Oz if you can. Save anniversary/birthday cards that you give each other. Save any mail you get addressed to both of you - like letters from friends/family back home - and, yes, unfortunately in this electronic world that probably means requesting that they send you real mail once in a while. (I hate the visa process.) wills and putting each other as beneficiaries on life insurance/superannuation/bank accounts will help heaps. Also save any forms where you have to list him as your de facto/ emergency contact (it may not come up in your situation, but keep your eyes peeled).

Since immigration is aware you're not in a gay-friendly culture, you should be fine. But since you have so much time to prepare, just keep it always in the back of your mind. You never know what might turn out to be useful!
They're both in Mongolia right now. They'd both have to be living in Oz in a state that allows registration for a certain amount of time before they could register. At least, that's how I understand it.
 

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They're both in Mongolia right now. They'd both have to be living in Oz in a state that allows registration for a certain amount of time before they could register. At least, that's how I understand it.
Actually, it depends a bit on the state. In QLD only one person has to live in QLD (for at least 6 months) :)
 

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Actually, it depends a bit on the state. In QLD only one person has to live in QLD (for at least 6 months) :)
Which you can prove with a bank account or car Rego. I happen to know someone who probably wasn't technically living there at the time and managed... But it might be tough. Just depends on the situation, so it's good to think about it.
 

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Mongolian government were talking about something the other day. Mongolian parliament discusses LGBT human rights | Gay Star News

It's difficult to get any paper evidence in Mongolia. There are no addresses. No mail. As you know, even if you had an address, there is no mail being sent here.

Sometimes it's difficult to know about gays here. It's perfectly normal for 2 young mates to link arms and walk down the street here. They are just mates. Not gay. Of cause women do it all the time.
I get the impression that most people here would never think of the concept of 'gay'. It would be a foreign concept here. So, just on the outside of it, I would imagine people would not really know how to respond. I don't think they would be hostile. But, of cause you would know better. I believe there are not really any defined laws for gays.

So you'd better get all the stuff done in Aus. Superannuation and will. Do you rent with a company or privately? Get a dummy/ recontract with both your names and dated correctly. People live with each other all the time. It doesn't need to 'raise suspicion'. Same with the bank account(s. Doesn't mean anything. Do you have bills? Get them together. Doesn't need to mean anything here. But means something in Aus.

Everything is difficult here. But, I think you can do everything as normal, without disclosing your secret here.

Good to see some Mongol representation here!! :p :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi everyone. Thanks so much for your comments, ideas and advice. It's already been an enormous help.

I will definitely work on getting some envelopes/letters sent to my address here from Australia to prove we live in the apartment together. Also, I'm sure my parents would be happy to provide a stat dec stating they can financially support us if things were ever to go awry. Plus, I qualify for Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance.

I'm a little worried about actually proving that we started living together in December, 2012. The only 'dated' evidence I can find of this so far is a video I made of my partner trying Vegemite for the first time in our apartment.

Regarding whether DIAC may just see us as roommates, I can confirm (in reply to jmcd16) that there is only one bedroom; not something roomies would typically have!

That's very interesting to know DIAC keeps a list of gay-hostile countries. Do they publish this anywhere or do I need to make a stupid FOI request? We both know a few of the de facto leaders of the small LGBT community here in Mongolia, and I thought it could be a good idea to get them to make statements attesting to the secret life LGBT couples need to lead here. Hopefully that can help DIAC to better understand our situation, and why we can't meet certain requirements in the usual manner.

It would be really good to register the relationship to be on the safe side. Because I study in Canberra, I would be going through the ACT's registration system. They have two kinds of relationships you can register in the ACT: a 'civil union' and a 'civil partnership.' I wonder whether DIAC has a preference for one type over the other. I'd welcome some views on this point. Looking at the ACT Government's site on civil partnerships, it appears only one of us needs to be an ACT resident, which is no problem as we'll be able to use the rent contract we'll enter into to prove residency. But, looking at the form to register a civil partnership, under 'Proof of Identification' they ask for a 'Citizenship Certificate' if born outside Australia, implying they want both parties to be Australian citizens. Confusingly, you can provide a 'Current Passport' as identification, and it goes on to say that "if born in Australia an Australian passport". The part about the 'Citizenship Certificate' appears to require that both parties be Australian citizens, but the part about the 'Current Passport' appears to leave open the possibility that one partner has a foreign passport and thus is not a citizen. I'll have to look at the legislation. Perhaps an anwers lies there.

Based on the above, we're leaning toward making an onshore application, especially since we'd like to register our relationship and waive the 12 month requirement. My partner would come over on something like a 6 month tourist visa, then we'd begin the application.

(I'd have linked you to the ACT Government's site and the form I mentioned but, as I'm not an 'Active Member' yet, I can't post links).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mongolian government were talking about something the other day.

It's difficult to get any paper evidence in Mongolia. There are no addresses. No mail. As you know, even if you had an address, there is no mail being sent here.

Sometimes it's difficult to know about gays here. It's perfectly normal for 2 young mates to link arms and walk down the street here. They are just mates. Not gay. Of cause women do it all the time.
I get the impression that most people here would never think of the concept of 'gay'. It would be a foreign concept here. So, just on the outside of it, I would imagine people would not really know how to respond. I don't think they would be hostile. But, of cause you would know better. I believe there are not really any defined laws for gays.

So you'd better get all the stuff done in Aus. Superannuation and will. Do you rent with a company or privately? Get a dummy/ recontract with both your names and dated correctly. People live with each other all the time. It doesn't need to 'raise suspicion'. Same with the bank account(s. Doesn't mean anything. Do you have bills? Get them together. Doesn't need to mean anything here. But means something in Aus.

Everything is difficult here. But, I think you can do everything as normal, without disclosing your secret here.

Good to see some Mongol representation here!! :p :D
Wow! Сайн байна уу!? I'm surprised to find someone else who's wanting to bring home a Mongol! Very true about how difficult it is to get papers here. And yeah, we heard all about the Mongolian Parliament's discussion of LGBT rights. The general opinion among LGBT people here is that it was just a stunt made ahead of the big Community of Democracies Conference that's now happening. Kind of like part of the last-minute city cleaning that was done, haha. Mongolia keeps getting criticised in each UN Universal Periodic Review for its inaction on LGBT issues.

If you'd like to check out some stuff on LGBTs in Mongolia, google 'ЛГБТ Төв'. There are some reports on the Centre's website that were submitted to the UN detailing violence against LGBT people here, eg, murders, beatings and rapes (damn, I wish I could link). Also, there's a documentary on Youtube called 'Lies of Liberty.' It's got some good info on LGBT people here, and how they live.
 

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Сайн, Сайн уу? Хоёуулаа жахаан монголоор бичих уу? Би ер нь гадаад хүмүүстэй монголоор ярих дуртай. Сонин санагддаг. Anyway, yeah, everything in the last few weeks has been a stunt. The government doesn't really care about the people here. Does it? People were scrubbing the metal fences along the road with soap, painting all the power poles, painting lines on the roads, cleaning the roads with a street sweeper truck. They put bins every 40 metres along the main streets. Before there were almost none. People said nothing like this has happened since Russian times over 20 years ago. Is it true the fixed the airport road? They need to do all this work all the time. Not just when 100 country's people come to visit. It just means if the government wants to do something, they can. But, they DON'T!
Oh well, let us know what happens :cool::D

Wow! Сайн байна уу!? I'm surprised to find someone else who's wanting to bring home a Mongol! Very true about how difficult it is to get papers here. And yeah, we heard all about the Mongolian Parliament's discussion of LGBT rights. The general opinion among LGBT people here is that it was just a stunt made ahead of the big Community of Democracies Conference that's now happening. Kind of like part of the last-minute city cleaning that was done, haha. Mongolia keeps getting criticised in each UN Universal Periodic Review for its inaction on LGBT issues.

If you'd like to check out some stuff on LGBTs in Mongolia, google 'ЛГБТ Төв'. There are some reports on the Centre's website that were submitted to the UN detailing violence against LGBT people here, eg, murders, beatings and rapes (damn, I wish I could link). Also, there's a documentary on Youtube called 'Lies of Liberty.' It's got some good info on LGBT people here, and how they live.
 

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Kids. Stick to Latin, majority wouldn't have a clue with Cyrillic. Otherwise I'll go in and edit your responses with an evil twist.

This is not an immigration advice
 

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"We both know a few of the de facto leaders of the small LGBT community here in Mongolia, and I thought it could be a good idea to get them to make statements attesting to the secret life LGBT couples need to lead here. Hopefully that can help DIAC to better understand our situation, and why we can't meet certain requirements in the usual manner."

That's an awesome idea - plus they can vouch for you being a real couple.
Also, the one bedroom is very helpful, although you might not think so. Opposite sex partners get questioned on that one sometimes - are you really together or just flat mates? Living together in a one bedroom flat sort of erases that doubt.

Sounds like you are going to have one solid case. Especially if you do the 6 month tourist visa and live together in Oz until the end of it, that plus the Regiatered relationship and all your other proof? Better than a lot of cases I've seen.
 
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