Registering relationships now available in South Australia

South Australia (SA) have recently announced that couples can now register their relationship with the SA Births, Deaths and Marriages office. This requires at least one person in the relationship to be living in South Australia. There are other requirements as listed in the relevant legislation including among other things:

  • That neither adult is married or already in a registered relationship,
  • That neither adult is in a relationship as a couple with another person,
  • The applicants are not related by family.

Importantly, amending legislation to the Acts Interpretation (Registered Relationships) Regulations 2008 (Cth), ensures South Australia’s new laws allowing couple to register their relationship is recognised by Commonwealth legislation.

What does this have to do with Australian immigration? Registering a relationship excludes the need for a secondary visa applicant to demonstrate they have been in a de facto relationship with the primary visa applicant for at least 12 months prior to lodging any of the following visa applications:

  • All permanent visas,
  • Business skills provisional visas,
  • Student visas,
  • Provisional and temporary partner visas, and
  • All General Skilled Migration visas.

The 12-month de facto requirement does not need to be met if the applicant can establish compelling and compassionate circumstances, which is a very high bar.

Registering a relationship, as is the case with married applicants does not excuse the need to show the relationship is genuine, especially for partner visa applications.

This now leaves Western Australia and the Northern Territory as the only two self-governing jurisdictions that do not have laws providing relationships to be registered.

Relationship registration has other uses besides a visa application. It is conclusive, legal recognition of a domestic relationship, and has been used for taxation and superannuation purposes, among other things.