Australian Visas from Philippines and Same-Sex Marriages
I think you would need to have been under a rock not to know that Australia has voted (in a very expensive way) and the Yes vote gained the majority. This meant that the passage of a bill that would change the Marriage Act 1961 went through. Same-sex marriages are now part of Australian law. How does this affect Australian partner visas from Philippines to Australia for gay couples?
Former wording in Section 5 of The Act:
marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
New wording since the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017:
marriage means the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
And basically, that’s it! From the perspective of Australian migration law, it doesn’t say anything at all about men and women. Never actually has. It’s always used the word “spouse”, and the changes in the Marriage Act mean that same sex marriages produce two spouses. Migration law has no opinion whatsoever about gender, as it follows the Marriage Act. Marriage act changes, and that means same-sex marriages are a basis for applying for a partner visa. Any marriage, as long as it’s a legal marriage. http://www.border.gov.au/News/Pages/same-sex-relationships.aspx
Same Sex Marriages and the Philippines
You are an Australian man or an Australian woman, and you have a same-sex partner in the Philippines. What are your options? Can you race over to Manila and organize a same-sex wedding ASAP? No, sorry. Australia changes Australian law. Philippines law remains the same, and there is no gay marriage on the lawbooks in Philippines in 2017. So it won’t happen.
Does this mean you can’t marry your Filipino same-sex partner? Not at all. You may! Just not in Philippines.
And remember that Australian immigration is about AUSTRALIAN law. You may marry in Australia, and you may use this wedding to meet the “spouse” requirement under the rules for getting an Australian partner visa.
You may also marry anywhere in the word which has legal same-sex marriage that Australia recognizes, ie. if you wanted to marry in New Zealand then Australia will now recognize this marriage. But unless that was your plan, it would obviously be a whole lot simpler to marry in Australia.
Same-Sex Marriage to a Filipino – Options?
Prospective Marriage Visa
The ol’ reliable fiancée visa (or fiancé visa, depending on whether male or female). This requires you to be committed to each other and engaged to be married, which you must do within 9 months of the visa grant. You don’t need to show proof of leading a shared-life at this stage, as you do when you apply as a de facto couple. The main emphasis is to show that you are committed to each other and to a marriage that will definitely take place. Plenty of documentation and plenty of relationship evidence. No, not an easy-visa by any means. We will keep you busy with “homework”, rest assured. Main advantage is lower-pressure by not having initial deadlines, and having 9 months in Australia to marry and to apply for the next stage.
Onshore Partner Visa
This means a partner visa that we apply for inside Australia after you marry. It will most certainly keep you very busy, because you need to be inside Australia on a tourist visa to apply, and you need to be actually married before you can apply. And as we’ve made clear enough recently, you need to have a complete, decision-ready application before you apply. Slapping together a lightweight partner visa application and filling in the missing bits later, those days are long gone. And no exceptions will apply to same-sex marriages. The advantage to putting in that hard work is that you get to remain together during the processing time, as the applicant will go automatically into a Bridging Visa A if you do the right thing with the application.
So if this is what you’ve been waiting for, wait no more! Australia’s visa system is open for business for same-sex couples. And Down Under Visa are no stranger to managing visa applications for gay couples either. We’ve done many a partner visa over the years for male-male and female-female couples in de facto relationships over the years. These changes will make it a whole lot easier for everyone concerned.