A change of the Marriage Act will allow for full equality in Migration Law, and this will be a positive outcome for many migrants in same-sex relationships.

Australians have voted Yes to same-sex marriage after 61.6 per cent of almost 13 million respondents backed the proposal.

Australian Immigration will be affected by the ‘yes’ vote, and a change in the law. and while the plebiscite does not legally bind the government to make actual changes to the current legislation, the result from the survey has indicated to the government the path that most Australians want to follow.

Migrants in same-sex relationships with Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents should have easier access to the Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage visa. As same-sex marriage has not legally been recognized here, this has not been an option, as couples must be able to enter a legally-recognized marriage.

Same-sex couples have had access to the Subclass 309/100 and 820/801 Partner visas based on a defacto relationship only, requiring them to demonstrate that they have lived together as a defacto couple for a period of at least 12 months immediately prior to the application, or alternatively to register their relationship as a Civil Union or Partnership.

Each State and Territory of Australia has their own requirements to register a relationship, with New South Wales (NSW), The Australian Capital Territory (The ACT), Queensland (QLD), Tasmania and Victoria recognizing a Registered Relationship.

Relationship Registration is not available in South Australia and Northern Territory, but in Western Australia you can register your defacto relationship provided you are a WA resident.

The lack of legal recognition of the relationship can be a significant disadvantage for same-sex couples, especially when they are unable to be together for whatever reason; most usually because they may not have a visa that will allow them to live in Australia with their partner.

Another impact will be for those who have married overseas, in that they can have their union recognized under Australian law, and be treated the same as married opposite-sex couples.

A change of the Marriage Act will allow for full equality in Migration Law, and this will be a positive outcome for many migrants in same-sex relationships.

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