Australia is one of the few countries that offer the same immigration rights to married as well as de-facto (common law or civil partners) of the opposite as well as same sexes.
The one year de-facto relationship requirement is a criterion that must be met by applicants claiming de-facto dependents for the following visas:
- a permanent visa
- a business skills visa
- a student visa
- a partner visa
- a general skilled migration visa
To satisfy this requirement, the couple must demonstrate that they have been in a de-facto relationship for at least 12 months before the visa application is made. This means living together and being committed to each other on a long term basis, not just being casual partners.
For the purposes of the Migration Act, a person is the de-facto partner of another person (whether of the same sex or a different sex) if the person is in a de-facto relationship with the other person.
A person is in a de facto relationship with another person if they are not in a married relationship with each other but:
- they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others; and
- the relationship between them is genuine and continuing; and
- they live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis and they are not related by family.
Couples who don’t meet the 12-month requirement can register their relationship with the concerned authority in their state and have the requirement reduced to six months once the certificate is issued. Each state and territory births, deaths and marriages registry offices provide information on the legal requirements of registering relationships. Requirements may vary in different states. Currently only the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria have laws in place allowing a relationship to be registered in accordance with the Acts Interpretation Act (Registered Relationship) Regulations.