This week’s Mailbox Monday post is from someone moving to Sydney with their partner, but they do not have de facto status.

Today’s Question:

I’m Jamaican living in Jamaica. My partner of 1 year is in Australia on a 457 visa. He is a Danish passport holder

Earlier this year I went to visit him in Sydney then he came to Jamaica to visit me. We have decided that we would like to both be in Australia for the duration of his contract.

We have no joint bank accounts or lease, as most of our relationship he’s been in Australia.

Is there any advice you can give us about how to get this all going. The requirements etc?

Lauren’s Reply

Wow, Jamaica! You’re my first Jamaican to send me an email.

Ok so I get this question a lot and it seems to really depend on the person reviewing and approving the visa application. The good news is that for temporary visas de facto status has some leeway, more so that permanent residence visas.

I also need to point out that I’m not a migration agent so I am not as familiar with all the ins and outs of each visa or any current changes which seem to happen every day. With that being said, I’m going to give you a few online references that will help with your research.

1. An article about proving de facto status on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

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2. This is a link to a 457 Visa Holders Group on LinkedIn that has a few migration agents that answer questions. It’s actually one of my go-to sources of information when I have questions. Matthew Garvey moderates the group and is one of several migration agents that are very active in the group.

Visa options for you are Tourist visa, getting your own temporary business visa (such as a 457 visa) or, if you’re under 30, a Working Holiday Visa good for one year with 12 months max stay. All these visas will get you into the country.

With a tourist visa, you won’t be able to work but if your partner has already been in Australia working and living then maybe that will be ok for a short period of time until you get your de facto status.

When you arrive you can start the de facto process. One problem with be adding you to a bank account as you will not have an Australian Tax Filing Number but you can be added to the electric and other bills. With a tourist visa, you can also start job hunting. You never know you could find someone that is willing to sponsor you for your own temporary working visa like the 457. The only thing with that scenario is you have to leave the country because the 457 visa has to be lodged from outside the country.

A temporary worker visa such as the 457 visa means you have to find an employer to sponsor you the way your partner has. That can be long and complicated but means you not only have a visa but also have a job when you arrive. SkillSelect is free and operated by the Australian Immigration and Citizenship Department. You can add your resume, or CV, to the system and see if you get any hits. If you choose to do this, please make sure your resume is optimized for job sponsorship first!

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The working holiday visa is pretty much the same thing, gets you into the country, still temporary but with a WHV you can open a bank account as you will have a Tax Filing Number since your are working. You might be able to have a joint account with your partner with a WHV. Maybe ask your partner to check into that since he is currently in Australia and that’s a simple phone call to his current bank.

Is there a migration agent that works for your partner’s company? They might have better advice for you guys and other suggestions.

I hope that helps some. I do know a few couples that have been successful going the tourist visa route but they were sitting on pins and needles for a little bit.

Let me know what happens and what worked for you guys. I get this question a lot and am very interested in knowing how others have solved it.

Thanks so much for your email.


What is Mailbox Mondays?

Every Monday I’ll pick a question from an email subscriber along with my reply out of my mailbox to share with everyone here on Sydney Moving Guide.

I don’t promise to have all the answers but I will do my best to point you in the right direction or help you with your research as I know there is a lot of noise out there and good resources are hard to find.

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