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33 UK Citizen - Moving to Sydney.

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 I have read so much information that it is leaking out of my head and I was hoping that you good people could give me advice.

 This is my situation:

 I am 33 years old living in London, my girlfriend is Australian and we have been in a relationship since April 2016 and have lived together since Jan 2017. My partners visa runs out in October so we are travelling for a month and then heading to Sydney.

 I work as a draftsman in the engineering industry and my first thought was to try and obtain sponsorship through an employer in Sydney. However through all the changes on the 457 Visa and various conversations with employers and agents over there this does not seem the best option.

 I was told by an immigration lawyer that to apply for defacto visa in Aus we would need to prove we have lived with together for a year so I could apply for defacto in Jan 2018. My thinking was that  I could get a 3 month tourist visa and before that runs out apply for defacto and my visa would automatically go to a bridging visa awaiting confirmation of defacto allowing me to work from Feb 2018 onwards.

 I have been told that we should register our relationship in NSW asap, is this correct? does it help the defacto application?

 So as it seems that defacto is the way forward, my question would be, can we start the application for defacto asap and myself enter the country whilst awaiting this decision or would I still need a tourist visa?

Any advice would be most welcome.

Thank you in advance! 

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Sounds good. If you have been living together since Jan 2017 and will continue to be then lodging on shore in Aus sounds decent.

Yes you should register your relationship in  NSW once you arrive in Aus (pretty sure NSW recognises this). It's does waive the 12 month cohabiting aspect iirc. It will help the application. I'd not pass up that opportunity to do so anyways. It can only be done by someone once in Aus so nothing doing till then. 

I would say not to lodge till you are in Aus on a tourist visa. If you are both travelling together outside Aus then you cannot register the relationship in NSW and you won't have 12 months de facto till Jan 2018. No point applying before this if you are outside Aus as you won't meet the de facto requirement. Wait till you are in Aus and you have the 3 months on the tourist visa to register the relationship and compile all your supporting evidence etc and lodge then. 

Ensure you are keeping all your evidence as it will be needed. Proof of you living together, sharing a life as a couple. Bills naming you both or individually at the same address. Wills, life insurance policy naming the other, bank account shared or able to show money going between your accounts. Both your names on a rental agreement. Named driver on your car insurance etc. Also ensure you keep all your flight bookings showing you travelling together (ie flight tickets with seat numbers next to each other), bookings for hotels for you both together etc. Ensure you can document the time you are travelling together in full. Photos and posts on FB won't cut it. 

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Also keep in mind once on a bridging visa it can be hard to secure permanent employment as many employers simply don't understand the bridging visa and what it entails. I suggest if you go onto a bridging visa when applying for jobs to say you have work rights in Aus. Keep it simple. 

It can be really disheartening for some partners stuck for many months on a bridging visa and only casual or irregular employment till their partner visa comes through. Just be prepared for things to possibly be awkward and at least be prepared. If it then doesn't happen, great,  but if it does, hopefully you'll be ready for it. 

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Hi, just a note re: 457, I had a company sponsor mine and it only took a week to be confirmed following submission of the docs, really straight forward. This was last week. I was also concerned about the changes and was anticipating waiting for a much longer time, I think the challenge is finding an employer willing to sponsor but I wouldn't give up on it 100%.

I appreciate there are a lot of issues with being on a temp visa, but it has suited us.

Good luck with it all.

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