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LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

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LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby OzExpatr » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 8:44 am

Hi everyone, I am in a tricky situation and I hope someone has some experience/info that I might use to solve my problem.

My partner (M/35) and I (F/28) are both Italian citizens currently living in Australia (4+ years) and Permanent Residents of Australia (no Australian passport yet).

We obtained PR in Australia together as we are in an officially recognised relationship, registered under the law of New South Wales. This equates us to legally married couples. We have a registration certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages of NSW.

I have been offered a job in Singapore (7000/month) and we are keen to accept and go. The problem is that LTVP has the following requirements. From the Ministry of Manpower website:

Any one of the following:
1) Copy of the common-law marriage certificate.
2) A letter from the embassy acknowledging that the work pass holder (WPH) and spouse are in a common-law relationship under the laws of their country.
3) An affidavit from the WPH declaring that the WPH and spouse are in a common-law relationship under the laws of their country. The affidavit must also be notarised in that same country.

Now, 1) We have it, as I explained in the initial paragraph.
2) This one is very tricky. Common Law couples are not recognised in our home country (Italy), therefore the Italian Embassy won't be able to provide us with such letter. But we are Permanent Residents of Australia (equal rights to citizens, expect for right to vote), and I was wondering if the Australian Embassy produces such letter, if it will be accepted by Singapore since we are Italian citizens.
3) We could get this one, but I could only state that I am in a common-law relationship with my spouse under the laws of Australia, where we reside and where we are permanent residents.

Does anyone have thoughts suggestions about all of this? I feel a bit hopeless at the moment.

The only other option is to get him to come with me on a (hopefully) 90 days tourist visa and then leave together (but a work experience of 3 months is not really worth the hassle of moving our whole life overseas).

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 11:26 am

There is a third option as well. Get married. For real.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby OzExpatr » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:29 pm

Thank you for your reply. You do have a point as that would be easy, but if we wanted to do something like that we would have done it already, don't you think? We are in a legally recognised relationship, we do not want to change our status just because of a visa.

In addition, a marriage just before the application would obviously raise eyebrows. Any useful suggestion?

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:55 pm

Actually, it wouldn't as neither of you are from a 3rd world country (although with Italy's economy one could possibly wonder) therefore it wouldn't appear to be a marriage of convenience and in addition to that, it can be substantiated by a 'history' already. I'd use the certificate you have from Australia along with your PR certificate in Oz and see if that will fly.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby x9200 » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:56 pm

In this case it would not raise eyebrows, but I wouldn't do it neither just to get a visa.
Other suggestion? Call the AU embassy and ask.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby OzExpatr » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:59 pm

Yup, I am calling today the Italian Embassy in Canberra, the Italian Consulate in Sydney, the Italian Embassy in Singapore and the Australian Embassy in Singapore to see if all together we can come up with something!

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby JR8 » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 3:17 pm

Just an observation.

OzE quotes:
‘Any one of the following:
1) Copy of the common-law marriage certificate. ...’


And writes:
'We obtained PR in Australia together as we are in an officially recognised relationship, registered under the law of New South Wales.'

So isn’t that sufficient? Why the perceived need to cross all three hurdles? My focus would be on checking with the SGn authorities that what you have satisfies hurdle no. 1). You could do this yourself, or perhaps ask the employer's HR if they can. IME one embassy/jurisdiction will never advise on the requirements of another, and it's not their function to do so.

And yes getting married might make the proposition easier; but for some there are valid reasons why they opt not to go that route, i.e. it’s not such a simple matter at all. Why else would the arch-pragmatist SGn-govt recognise that, and indeed legislate to allow it.

p.s. Welcome to the forum OzE :)
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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby bgd » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 4:23 pm

Probably not because they will be traveling on Italian passports so Sg will look for something from Italy rather than Australia.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 5:31 pm

This.^^ They stated at the outset that both were Italian Citizens so would be traveling on those passports. Australia doesn't really enter into the equation anymore than Singapore would if they were he and somehow registered their de facto relationship and tried to us the Singapore acceptance in say Hong Kong.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby JR8 » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 7:59 pm

@SMS. Ah yes, I see your point.

I.e. The SG government consider whether the relationship is legally recognised in the country of which you're a citizen, rather than say where you might be PR, or where the non-marital relationship formed.
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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby x9200 » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 8:52 pm

Getting one step back .... just noticed that the requirement is for any of the documents not every (all) mentioned documents so? I would still try based on the certificate only.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 9:41 pm

Clearly,

a) The Singapore rules say, "An affidavit from the WPH declaring that the WPH and spouse are in a common-law relationship under the laws of their country." It does not have the phrase, "of which you are citizen".

b) Australia seems to have the cajones to decide for itself if common law marriage is legal, unlike Singapore, which displays no backbone one way or the other, instead opting for the rules of another country.

c) I judge that whomever wrote these rules never even considered the possibility of a situation like that of the OP. Instead, they are considering only those who come directly from country "A" to Singapore.

The OP should submit the common law marriage certificate. Were it to be rejected, I'd submit an appeal on at least two grounds.

a) The rules do say, "under the laws of their country", and as the OP and spouse are PR's and living in Oz, that is "their country". As them for further proof that what this actually means is country of citizenship.

b) Ask them if the same rules apply to marriage, that is, if you are Italian by citizenship but were formally married in Oz, would they reject the marriage because it wasn't done in Italy? Of course, they will accept this marriage, and if they will accept this marriage from Oz, there is no reason they should not also accept a legally constituted Oz common law marriage.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby JR8 » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 9:42 pm

To add to the discussion...

I checked the Aus-NSW marriages/relationships website. http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/Pages/marriag ... ister.aspx The requirements sound akin to a typical western concept of a registered de facto marriage to me...

So I checked http://www.ica.gov.sg to see if they mention such marriages. Note: I am also conscious that SG sometimes do allow things (recognition of 2 foreigners in a same-sex marriage might be an example) that they do not exactly broadcast in their FAQs.

This struck me:

17. My foreign spouse and I have undergone a customary marriage overseas three years ago. Is our marital status recognised for my spouse’s application for LTVP+?
So long as you are able to show proof that your marriage is recognised in the foreign country where you had undergone your customary marriage, ICA will consider the application.


AIUI a 'customary marriage' is a concept on the Sub-continent. Might there be any mileage with the 'customary of another kind' marriage from Australia? ... don't know.... just a thought.
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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 29 Oct 2015 11:07 pm

Customary marriage is mostly the cultural marriage ceremony that it usually followed up by the civil ceremony at a later date. It's not a de facto/common law marriage, e.g., a live in girlfriend gone long term (pardon the crudeness). It's more akin to what is practiced by the Chinese here in Singapore. There is the cultural marriage (so they can get on the wait list for a new HDB flat) and then the ROM ceremony (civil ceremony) which has to take place before they can get the keys to the new flat.

Having said that, it doesn't hurt to try. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

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Re: LTVP for de facto partnes - complicated!

Postby OzExpatr » Fri, 30 Oct 2015 7:41 am

Hi everyone again and thanks so much for taking the time to do research.

Just to add to the conversation, to register a relationship here in Australia you have to proof that you live here and are part of this Country. We needed to send Stat Decs, bills in both names, and a number of docs to prove we are "real". I also had the option to take my partner's last name (which I didn't do, cause I like mine more :D )! It took 1 month to approve this, and after that I applied for Permanent Residency, sponsoring my partner as my spouse. For this, we needed to sent them our lease, bills, statements of our join bank account to prove we share finances, photos of the last three years, correspondence for the period (even just 1 week) when we were apart, correspondence between us and our family talking about the partner, lists of calls, messages, copies of documents to proof that he's the beneficiary of my pension fund, tickets for all the travels we did together in the last three years, and declarations from friends stating that they know us, we are integrated in the country and are a real couple. It tooks us months to put this together! That's why I get so upset when all of this is somehow not recognised.

Anyway! Yesterday we did a ton of phone calls, and these are the results:

- Italian Consulate in Sydney and Italian Embassy in Canberra: their reply is (as expected) that since they only release documents under the Italian law, they cannot release this document as our couple is not recognised in Italy.

- Australia High Commission in Singapore: They said they never received this kind of request before. They do it for Aussie citizens for sure, but no permanent resident ever asked before. They asked us to send an official request via e-mail (which we did), and we are waiting for a reply. But actually this documents might not be needed because of the following point...

- MOM in Singapore: They said that the certificate is enough. We highlighted three times that we are NOT Australian citizens and that our certificate is Australian, but they said that's all we need. They even checked my partner's passport number (I don't know why), and said yes again.

In the meantime my prospective employer hired a quite famous international recruitment agency that deals with immigration matters, they asked us a couple of questions and hopefully we'll have some feedback from them very soon.


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