Embarking on the journey to secure a Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent) or Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated) visa is a significant step towards building a new life in Australia. As a Migration SuperHero, we guide and assist our clients through this process. A change in your relationship status from ‘Single’ to ‘De Facto’ or ‘Married’ – whilst likely to be a wonderful time for you – can have implications on the visa application process, particularly the GSM Visa process. Let’s shed light on what happens if such a change occurs, especially when the person you are now in a permanent relationship with (i.e. married or de facto) is not an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen.
Understanding Subclass 189 and 190 Visas:
The Subclass 189 and Subclass 190 visas are pathways for skilled individuals to live and work in Australia permanently. Candidates for the 189 or 190 visas must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and claim points for their personal attributes. It is on the basis of these claimed points, that a candidate may be selected to apply for a visa.
Factors considered include age, English language proficiency, skilled employment, educational qualifications and relationship status.
For relationship status, candidates may opt for:
- Single – 10 points
- Partner relationship with Australian citizen, PR or eligible NZ citizen – 10 points
- Partner with Competent English – 5 points
- Partner with Competent English plus skills assessment – 10 points
A candidate’s civil status, therefore, is an important element in his or her overall EOI eligibility.
Impact of Relationship Status Change on your GSM Visa:
There are four points of time when the relationship status change should be considered:
- EOI – before Invitation
- EOI – after invitation and before visa lodgement
- After visa lodgement and before decision
- After visa grant
EOI – Before invitation for GSM
Happily single, as an EOI candidate, you can claim 10 points.
Once you enter into a spouse relationship, however, you will no longer be entitled to claim those ten points.
Before panicking, however, first consider whether or not you are in fact in a partner or spousal relationship. If you are married, then that is a clear ‘yes’. If you have registered a de facto relationship, then that is also ‘yes’. In addition, if you have been living with your partner on a genuine domestic basis, to the exclusion of all others, for 12 months, then that is also a ‘yes’. Any other permutation, however, may or may not be considered as you being partnered. The test is: Would this relationship pass the test for a Partner visa?
If you consider you are in a de facto or marital relationship, then you will need to determine whether or not your partner can contribute any points to your EOI.
If your partner is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, then you can update your EOI with his / her details and claim 10 points.
Otherwise, does your partner have Competent English? If so, and the test results are valid, enter those details into your EOI for 5 points. Does your partner also have a positive valid skills assessment? If so, you may add those details too and with the English level, will allow you to reclaim the full 10 points.
EOI – After invitation / After GSM visa lodged
Once you have been ‘selected’ from the EOI pool and invited to apply for a visa, you will have 60 days to lodge your application.
The assessment of your points, however, is as at the date of invitation. If your point score at the time of decision is less than the score at time of invitation, your application will be refused.
Points for age, education, employment and all other personal attributes except for relationship status, will be assessed as at date of invitation.
Points for relationship status, however, will be assessed based on the applicant’s status at the time of decision.
Thus, if your civil status changes to partnered after invitation, you will no longer be able to claim the points for single status. You also will be unable to claim points for your partner, as you did not have the partner at the time of invitation.
After GSM visa application lodged
If you change your relationship status after your visa application is submitted, you have the option to include your family unit members (partners and dependent children) in your visa application. However, you will not be eligible to claim any points for your partner. Additionally, you will lose the 10 points you were previously claiming as a single candidate.
You must provide evidence of the genuine nature of the relationship in order for your partner to be included in your application.
After visa grant
If you become partnered after a visa grant, then you may be eligible to sponsor your partner for a Partner visa. The Partner Visa enables Australia permanent residents or citizens to sponsor their married or de facto partners or fiancé to live in Australia permanently. This consists of a temporary partner visa lasting two years (820 and 309) and a permanent visa stage (801 and 100).
Navigating through the visa application process amidst changes in personal circumstances and in particular relationship status changes can be a complex task. With the right strategy in place and timely action, managing these changes effectively can provide you with the best visa outcome.
Your Migration SuperHero is here to consider your specific circumstances and provide advice and assistance to ensure a smooth transition through the various stages of your GSM process, ensuring you are well-prepared for your new adventure in Australia. We invite you to book a call so that we can help you navigate the path ahead!