Status “De Facto” relationship for skilled migration

Today I would like to answer a question which my clients are asking me very often during consultations: how relationship status is assessed for a visa application under General Skilled Migration Program.

The SkillSelect system distributes points for relationship status as follows:

  • Single – SkillSelect will award 10 points
  • Engaged – SkillSelect will award 10 points
  • Married – SkillSelect will award 0 points
  • De Facto – SkillSelect will award 0 points

It is pretty clear with all statuses, excluding de facto relationship, that get used to provoke some issues for consideration. The criteria define a de facto relationship as any unregistered relationship existed in the 12 months immediately prior to the visa application.

GSM visa applicants’ marital status will sometimes change between lodging the EOI, lodging the visa application, and when a decision is made on points. This change of status may result in the loss or gain of points for visa assessment. For example, a person assigned 10 points (as single) at EOI, may lose these 10 points at the visa application stage if they have subsequently married or entered a de facto relationship.

Where intending applicants are both in a de facto relationship and engaged simultaneously at time of EOI, they may consider selecting “De Facto” rather than “Engaged” when calculating their point score irrespective of the length of the de facto relationship. This will avoid being invited at a higher point score than what the visa applicant will be able to meet.

Opposite, an intending applicant may declare a de facto relationship at EOI but if that de facto relationship is of less than 12 months standing at visa application then that de facto partner will not be eligible for consideration as the visa applicant’s partner for purposes of the visa.

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To make it easier for you to recognize your de facto status, I would like to share some tips with you!

The 5 factors to be considered whether a “De Facto” relationship exists

  • financial aspects of the relationship,
  • nature of the household,
  • social aspects of the relationship,
  • presence or absence of a sexual relationship, and
  • nature of the commitment.

All 5 factors must be considered. No single factor should be seen as conclusive and not all factors need to be present. For instance, the presence or absence of a sexual relationship is considered but does not, by itself, indicate whether or not a person is a member of a couple.

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