I’m getting really tired of the implication I should be grateful.

Australia is meeting the bare minimum standard of decency by allowing me to immigrate as Kit’s partner. We are in a relationship and have been for over eight years. I should not have to gush at length about how good and kind it is that they recognise us as a couple and graciously allow me the chance to immigrate. The US refusing to let me sponsor her is not and should not be the baseline. They are failing.

If I visited Australia, met a man, and we eloped, I would be allowed to immigrate with less effort and signficantly more dignity. Kit and I have to provide repeated statements about our lives and history and relationship where a marriage certificate would suffice if we were straight. Because we aren’t married, we have to meet rules about length of cohabitation that are extremely difficult for us to meet because, get this, international travel is really expensive and vacation visas are really short. Because we’re both girls, we can’t get married to escape the cohabitation clauses.

We’ve tried playing by the rules. There’s a potential loophole for queers: getting registered with the state government. Nevermind that registering a domestic relationship sounds (and is) creepy, is somewhat costly, and grants us NO other rights except the waiver for how long we can afford to live in one place. Nevermind that it doesn’t even carry between states, so if we moved it means nothing. We applied anyway. But the guidelines say you have to have lived in Victoria for 12 months, the same as the cohabitation rules. Mind you, these are guidelines, not rules. There is some discretion involved. In theory. Given the reactions of everyone who has touched our paperwork, I expect that will be denied. Oh! And we won’t know for 4 weeks, because like underage children trying to get married on the sly, domestic relationships have a waiting period. You can get married the same day as you apply, but not registered, and it is entirely out of our hands. We don’t meet with someone who talks to us and assesses our merit. We submit forms and hope they are having a good day.

So, in order:
– Can’t bring Kit to the US because she’s a girl (secondarily, CP)
– Can’t live here for more than 12 months at a time unless I’m on a student visa, which is pricey due to tuition. Kit can’t live there for more than 3 months unless she got a student visa, which is even more pricey.
– Can’t get married to waive cohabitation requirements
– Can’t get registered to waive cohabitation requirements because of inbuilt cohabitation requirements for that
– Can’t actually get stuff for my visa application I need like fingerprints because the wait list is 3 months after my visa expires because Victorian bureaucracy is shit (this isn’t related to being queer, but it’s not helping, you know?)
– Can’t get any help from the embassy (I know, I’ve been emailing them all day)
– Can’t get permanent (any!) work because of my visa. Why hire someone on a visa due to end in 2 months if you can get a permanent resident or citizen?

And I’m supposed to feel grateful?

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3 Responses to mind the gap between what I say and how I act

  1. Caroline says:

    I hear you loud and clear! My partner and I are in a similar situation. She’s American, I’m Australia. She’s here on a Work/Holiday Visa that expires on 3 Nov. We have the joint financial evidence from Dec 11 on but the earlier evidence is shakier.

    After advice from two different sources, we tried to lodge a relationship registration application this morning in Melbourne. It wasn’t accepted because my partner doesn’t have any evidence to prove she’s lived in Victoria for 12 months. My partner wants to try again but I don’t. $200 is a lot of money to waste.

    How did your application go, if you went ahead with it?

    If we don’t try for the relationship register, we will lodge our application on 2 Nov with as much evidence as we can. In my heart I feel that we’ll be okay… or maybe I just can’t bear to contemplate the alternative.

  2. Ali says:

    Ugh, I’m sorry you got denied. We wrote a cover letter explaining why we were trying to get around the 12 month rule and appealing to them to use discretionary power. It was obnoxious–every person who touched it called me to make sure I knew it hadn’t been 12 months!–but they did ultimately grant the registration. We turned in my permanent residency paperwork last Friday and I am officially on a bridging visa as of today.

    Did the registry people try to refuse you at the counter? RUDE. We were really insistent, but they were rude to us, too. The first lady we saw sent us away for more bank documentation. I have your email from your comment–if you like, I’d be happy to forward what we wrote in our cover letter. I have to think it helped, and it’s nice to know other people in the same situation.

  3. Caroline says:

    Please do email me. I read more of your blog and you and Kit getting together sound much like how Emily and I got together.

    Did you ever get help from the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Taskforce? We are finding their help invaluable and they are free, run by others who have been through this process and with immigration agents who give advice.

    So glad I found your blog. :)