The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force (GLITF) has celebrated 20 years of service to the lesbian and gay community and the retirement of one of their longstanding committee members.
GLITF Victoria provides support and advice for same-sex couples applying for partner migration. Registered migration agents volunteer their time each week to provide one-on-one immigration advice to GLITF members.
The organisation began meeting in the early 1980s with the aim of lobbying the federal Government to recognise same-sex partnerships for immigration purposes.
“Back then same-sex partner migration was possible, but each case was at the immigration minister’s discretion. It was a long and expensive process for couples and there were no guarantees,” GLITF convenor Geoff Fitzpatrick explained.Laws allowing same-sex partner immigration, under the category of an ‘interdependency visa’, were introduced in Australia in the late 1980s. This allowed Australian citizens to sponsor a permanent residency application by their non-Australian same-sex partner.
Today, same-sex couples can apply for partner migration as a de facto couple, the same category as unmarried heterosexual couples.
Fitzpatrick said many people don’t realise it is possible for same-sex couples to apply for partner migration and many people contact the GLITF just to check their options.
“We don’t prepare visa applications for people, but we show them how to do it. We know the ins and outs of this area and have helped literally hundreds of couples over the years.”