The federal government of Australia has expanded the applicants’ category for partner visas in order to include same-sex couples a few days after the same-sex marriage was decriminalised in the country.
The application process to let same-sex couples apply for a Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) and Partner visas (subclasses 309, 801, 809 and 100) have been updated.
According to the changes, an individual in a same-sex union will be able to apply for a visa hereafter as a spouse of their partner instead of as their de facto partner.
It will also be possible for people of the same-sex in a relationship wanting to marry genuinely their partners in Australia to apply for the Prospective Marriage visa.
Earlier, same-sex partners had to apply for a permanent interdependency visa and also meet stringent criteria to demonstrate an interdependent relationship’s existence.
Rodney Croome, an advocate for same-sex unions and Just Equal spokesman, said strict rules in place earlier for same-sex partners had kept partners apart, causing them agony.
Mr Croome was quoted by the SBS News as saying that same-sex couples that he had known have been having a tough time applying for visa interdependency. Moreover, the process proved to be expensive for them, he said.
He added that for the same-sex union to be approved, it had taken a long time, and it was also needed to prove that their relationship was more special than the ones existing between heterosexual couples.
Lee Carnie, a lawyer with Human Rights Law Centre, said after the changes, there would be an increase in applications for visas from same-sex partners.
Ms Lee said in the past all these couples who had married outside of Australia couldn’t apply for a spouse visa if one of them was not a national of Australia, but with the new legislation, it would be now possible for them to apply for a spouse visa.
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