Conflicting advice re: living together time required
I am an aussie citizen, wanting to sponsor my girlfriend for an onshore partner visa (she is currently on student visa until end of 2011). We have been together for approx 9 months, although due to existing leases are not currently living together. We plan to move together quite soon. My question is regarding the cohabitation requirement.
We have had a consultation with a migration law firm who provided us with the following advice – “As discussed in our consultation, we recommend that you apply for your visa once you are able to evidence 6 months cohabitation." This came as a surprise to us as from the little research we had done it seemed 12mths cohabitation was required. The migration agent was adamant that this correct and that 6mths cohabitation is required, if we have already been in an exclusive relationship living apart for 9mths.
Today I waited in line at the IMMI to get an extremely rude young guy brush me off half way through my question with (loudly in front of 50 other people in line) – “You need to live together for 12mths to the day and if you have a problem with it just get married. NEXXXT”.
Reading the IMMI documentation it is not conclusive either way. Wording is –
- “Show that you and you partner have been in a de facto relationship for the entire 12 months immediately prior to lodging your application”
- “Show that you and you partner are living together or, if not, that any separation is only temporary”
Can anyone shed some light on this? I was inclined to organise the application myself but if I am going to have to deal with such unprofessionalism from IMMI the whole way through I would rather let the migration agent deal with it.
The information on the web site may seem conflicting and more so for people wanting it to seem that way because they want to attempt cutting corners.
I do not know how much clearer you can get than
That being the case, you can still meet the financial commitment and move in together.
You could attempt to use the reverse reasoning but that could also give a less certain result and so why do it?
If you look at the 12 months relationship requirement link there are examples under CAQ.
You want to play lets try and interpret this our way, just remember that Immi records in the past have shown many applications get rejected.
There is also a waiver for the 12 months you can get if you are residing in the ACT, NSW, Tassie or Victoria by getting a relationship registration but you'll still need to have evidence of a relationship as per Booklet #1.
Thanks for the replies so far.
Please do not take my line of questioning as trying to cut corners. I am at the start of researching this process and would like to have all the facts on hand. I do not claim to have any prior experience in immigration matters, therefore I paid good money for professional advice. If this advice is not accurate then I will be going back and asking for the matter to be escalated to someone more senior in the firm.
Regardless of our previous living arrangements, we will be renting our own place soon. So this 6 or 12mths cohabitation rule needs to be clear up front.
For what it's worth, I still consider the following statements ambiguous -
2. Doesn't specifically state you must have been living together for the last 12mths.
So all in all, I do need to go back and clarify. Either way, I will begin gathering the required evidence and get on with living out lives.
Defacto means living together so it does state this explicitly. See below for definition:
What is a de facto relationship?
The term "de facto relationship" is defined in the Property (Relationships) Act.
Since June 1999, the definition has been widened to cover ALL relationships between two adults (over the age of 18) who:
live together as a couple; and
are not married; and
are not siblings or a parent or child of each other.
This means that homosexual couples are now covered by this law.
What issues are relevant?
The law lists a number of issues that must be considered in assessing whether a de facto relationship exists. These include:
how long the relationship has lasted;
whether you both live in the same house;
how the household duties are done;
how far your finances are intertwined;
whether you own assets together;
the care and control of any children of the relationship;
whether outsiders see you as "de facto";
· whether you intend the relationship to be permanent etc.
I have the same problem with the conflicting advice. A friend of mine who works in a different department in immi did the research for me and said that you can apply if you haven't been living together for 12 months but you need to be able to prove that you have been in a DeFacto relationship for 12 months. confusing i know. He also was told that the reason so many immi staff tell people 12 months is that they arnt trained correctly for all visa types.
Also i would complain about the person you dealt with. they were beyond rude. also id quote in the complaint what you have quoted here and ask someone higher up the chain to clarify for you.
Hi there Bretto,
I have also seen in the PAM (which is the procedures and advice manual for immigration agents and COs) that de factos need to show at least 6 months of cohabitation. I managed to get hold of an old copy of the PAM, but it seems that this has not changed, since the agent also advised you to show at least 6 months.
I would like to point out the word 'evidence' in your agent's advice. I interpret that as meaning couples may have lived together for 12 months or more, but they need to show physical evidence of at least 6 months in the form of a documents. And from what Silentsleeper says, this seems to be kinda true, as his contact states that they at least need to prove they have been in a de facto relationship for the 12 months before applying.
Regardless of the conflicting lengths of time, I think it's best to try wait until you have been living together longer before you apply. And I also think you should to try and call immigration over the phone via their hotline. Maybe you'll get a much calmer and nicer answer to your questions. And definitely lodge a complaint about that rude staff member you dealt with.
I'll keep viewing for entertainment!
Hey Brett, we are in a similar situation as you guys. We meet the 12 month requirement in total, but have had a period of separation for 7 months.
Let me explain - we meet overseas, fell in love and lived together for 9 months. I then had to leave and come back to Australia for family reasons. My partner stayed on and then went back to Brazil (where he's from). We maintained our relationship whilst being apart and saw each other briefly for 3 weeks for my brother's wedding in Thailand. My partner then came out to Australia in July this year on a 2 year student visa, and we have been living together since then.
We have been researching the defacto visa for some time now - and have yet to get a clear answer on whether we can apply now, or if we need to have lived together consecutively for 12 months before applying.
I have called immigration twice recently. The first time I was told that we would not be able to meet the minimum requirements as we have not lived together for the past 12 months. The second time I called I was told that the immigration officer will look at a number of criteria, not just the 12 month requirement, and that if you can prove your mutual commitment and genuine and continuing relationship (and that you support each other emotionally, financially etc), and that separation if any is only temporary.
We ideally want to apply for this visa soon if we can, so we are meeting with immigration next week to see if we can get a clearer answer.
Fingers crossed we get a straight answer. I didn't realise that information about the 6 months cohabitation in the PAM, thanks for sharing aussie girl.
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