Gay, straight couples immigrating to New Zealand treated the same

05 May 2005

Same-sex couples wishing to immigrate to New Zealand will now have to prove they have been together for one year rather than two, the same as heterosexual couples.

Many countries around the world are expanding their benefits to same-sex couples in order to comply with international human rights covenants. Yet in most cases, immigration rules apply differently for same-sex and opposite sex couples. On April 26, the Civil Union Act took effect in New Zealand, prompting the change in waiting time. Additionally, HIV status is not included as a determining factor in the immigration process.

Currently, most English-speaking countries, aside from the US, provide immigration equality to their citizens. The US also normally does not grant immigrant visas to HIV-positive individuals regardless of where the virus was contracted, creating an additional hurdle to some couples.

Currently 16 countries have laws that allow citizens to sponsor a same-sex foreign partner for immigration. These are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom.