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Hi All,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I'm getting a bit worried after researching online and I don't know if anyone can help with suggestions etc until I can make an appointment with a specialist immigration lawyer.

The backstory is that myself (28), and my partner (29), met online. I live in the UK, she lives in NSW.
We've been talking since April 2018 online and in July 2018 I went over there to meet her for the first time in person for 2 weeks. I will next be visiting for 5 weeks through October 2018.

I work in Retail Management but don't have any qualifications or work in a profession that is considered to be on the skilled occupations/skilled shortages list. She is currently doing her law degree and is a "single mum" with 3 kids who relies on her Centrelink (welfare) payments to survive.

I'm concerned that despite being of a good financial status my lack of qualifications or experience in any of the skilled occupations will preclude me from getting a work visa.

I've been looking into partner sponsored visas and a prospective marriage visa as it seems like the only other option.

I'm concerned however that to meet the criteria for the partner sponsored visa that we will have had to live in a de-facto relationship for 12 months. If I can't get a work visa, how can I stay there for 12 months to be in a de-facto relationship with her, as I understand that even if I travel fairly often to see her that is not classed as a de-facto relationship. Also, if we are in a de-facto relationship (as required for the visa) even if I live overseas this will mean that her Centrelink (welfare) payments are stopped which is not an option.

To me it seems the only option is to get a working holiday (417) visa to get me onshore to accrue the 12months of living together to qualify for being in a de-facto relationship to be eligible for the partner sponsored visa.

My only concern is how long it will take for the temporary portion of the partner sponsored visa to be approved- if my working holiday visa runs out before the temporary portion of the partner sponsored visa is approved I will then have to return to the UK, how long will this be for?
How long does approval of the temporary portion of the visa take to be approved?
What would happen if we've been in a de-facto relationship for 12 months but when I have to return to the UK, will we no longer be in a de-facto relationship?
Will this mean that this visa is refused?
Is it possible to get a bridging visa from the working holiday visa to the partner sponsored visa to allow me to stay and work in Australia?

I've done a fair bit of research but I'm still quite confused. The only other option I can see is to try and ensure I stay onshore throughout the process to make sure that she is able to survive and I can provide an income to the household would be:

Working Holiday visa to start our de-facto relationship
*THEN*
somehow do 3months of regional work to qualify for a second year of Working Holiday visa to remain on-shore and maintain our de-facto relationship
*THEN*
as soon as this second year is approved I apply for the partner sponsored visa and hope that this is accepted temporarily within the 12 further months I can stay

OR

Working Holiday visa to start our de-facto relationship
*THEN*
apply for a prospective marriage visa to get a 9 month buffer where I can stay in aus and maintain our de-facto relationship
*THEN*
apply for the partner sponsored visa

My concerns still rest on how quickily the temporary portion of these visas take to be approved and whether they will be approved whilst I'm still on-shore? (the same question for prospective marriage visa)? Also, if it means I have to return to the UK for a certain period of time can I still count this as part of our de-facto relationship?

Sorry for the massive essay I've written but I'm getting a bit panicked that this is going to be impossible and I'd be heartbroken if we can't make this work.
 
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