Can Couples Who Are Gay or Lesbian Migrate Together to Australia

Can Couples Who Are Gay or Lesbian Migrate Together to Australia


Gay and lesbian couples can migrate together to Australia. The Australian government recognizes same-sex relationships for immigration. Further same-sex couples have the same rights and opportunities as heterosexual couples for visas and migration.

Visa options for gay and lesbian couples 

There are several visa options available for same-sex couples, including:

  1. Partner Visa (subclass 820/801 and 309/100): Allows the partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia.
  2. Prospective Marriage Visa (subclass 300): For couples intending to marry after arriving in Australia.
  3. Skilled Migration Visas: If one partner qualifies for a skilled visa, the other can be included as a dependent.

To apply, couples must provide evidence of their relationship, such as joint financial accounts, shared living arrangements, and social recognition of the relationship.

The Regulation

The regulation defining Interdependency says you must have been in a “relationship” for 12 months immediately preceding the date of application. This “relationship” includes financial, legal, social, and domestic criteria and includes living together, or ” not living separately and apart permanently”.

The Interdependency Visa Category

There is only one category of visa available to the same-sex partner of an Australian permanent resident or citizen the Interdependency Visa category. The Interdependency visa is similar to the Spouse Visa available to an opposite-sex partner of an Australian resident or citizen but it may be more expensive to apply for the Interdependency visa in some circumstances.

The 457 Visa

There is also only one category of visa that allows a same-sex partner of a primary visa applicant to accompany them to migrate to Australia; the Temporary Business 457 visa. This compares to the myriad of visas available to an opposite-sex couple wishing to migrate to Australia together. The result is that each member of a same-sex couple may have to qualify separately for a visa. If one is unsuccessful, the couple will be separated across the world.

Can Couples who are gay or lesbian migrate together to Australia

Same-sex Partner Does Not Qualify as a ‘spouse’

Same-sex couples are denied access to the range of visas available to opposite-sex couples because a same-sex partner does not qualify as a ‘spouse’ and is therefore not a ‘member of the family unit’ in the Migration Regulations 1994. Since a same-sex partner cannot be a ‘spouse’, he or she will not qualify for a Spouse visa or a Prospective Marriage visa.

The Interdependency visa is the only visa that is available for a person who is a same-sex partner of another person. A same-sex partner of a person cannot be included as a member of the family unit on a visa application, even if the same-sex couple has been married according to the laws of another country. Under Australian law, only opposite-sex relationships can constitute a spouse relationship.

Migration Regulations

The Migration Regulations define an ‘interdependent relationship’ to be a relationship between any two people as follows:

Evidence of a mutual commitment to a shared life,

The relationship is genuine and continuing, and they live together.

Thus, a same-sex partner can be a member of an ‘interdependent relationship’.

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