Hey Lifehacker, I have been in a long-distance relationship for over two years, with me in Australia and her in Belgium. How can we go about getting her Australian permanent residency or citizenship?
She is a library assistant and in a band, so I don't think she'll qualify for a sponsorship by an employer. She has the 12 month working holiday visa and plans on coming over late May to start it. Any ideas? Thanks, Distant Yearnings
Long-distance romance picture from Shutterstock
Tell her not to arrive by boat!
Kidding aside, there is a depressingly xenophobic climate in Australia right now which can make things complicated for immigrants seeking permanent residency. This goes doubly if their existing qualifications and occupational skills aren't in high demand.
We're not lawyers or immigration specialists and for expert advice you're going to need one -- but for now, your first port of call should be the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website. You'll find plenty of information here on the types of visa your partner can apply for.
Your girlfriend's best bet is probably a Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) followed by a Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100). This allows the de facto partner of an Australian citizen to travel to and live in Australia. Note that the applicant needs to be outside Australia when they apply.
If the applicant is granted a Partner (Provisional) visa, they will be allowed to live and work in Australia until a final decision is made. The entire process typically takes around two years (naturally, you'll need to remain in the relationship throughout). If she is ultimately granted a Partner (Migrant) visa, she will be able to stay in Australia indefinitely and apply for Australian citizenship should she choose to.
As with most things in life, there are various costs involved. This pricing estimator will give you an indication of how much the entire endeavor is likely to set her back. Here's the DFAT Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309) and Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100) page which includes the necessary forms required to apply. Best of luck!
If any readers have experience in this area, feel free to share your stories and advice in the comments section below!
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