In March of 2012 Queensland joined a number of other states (including Victoria, NSW, Tas, ACT and the NT) which now recognise civil unions or partnerships (including same-sex) for general purposes. The Migration Act (and recently amended Regulations) now recognises de facto relationships registered under the new Queensland legislation – Civil Partnerships Act 2011 (Qld) from March 2012 – as a ‘registered relationship’.
What does this mean?
This means that the long established ‘12 month rule’ to establish a de facto relationship under Migration law -either inside or outside Australia – is no longer necessary where the parties are qualified to register their relationships under the relevant state legislation –if applicable.
Quite often clients present evidence which falls short of the usual 12 month rule. Now if the rules can be met, then this new law means that you can lodge a de facto partner application relying on your registered relationship and not having to meet the 12 month requirement. If you are planning to use this method you must be careful because not all states requirements are the same.
Clearly parties who are usually resident overseas will have to continue to meet the 12 month rule.