Do you include unmarried partners, including same sex couples, in your aims?
Yes. In promoting our aims, we support diversity and inclusiveness in employment and family life, so we include both married spouses and unmarried partners, irrespective of gender. In all our promotional materials, we use the word “partner” unless we feel that “spouse or partner” is necessary for context or clarity. We are also aware that some host countries do not yet recognise unmarried partners as being entitled to residency as accompanying family members. When approaching these countries, we seek advice locally on cultural sensitivities and may consider whether it is necessary to promote work authorisation initially for the categories that are already entitled to accompanying resident status.
Our world map of mobile spouse and partner work authorisation indicates those countries where unmarried partners or same-sex spouses are recognised as accompanying family members.
Our 2022 Survey confirmed that employers welcome a broad definition family members (of an international employee) who should be authorised to work in the host country directly upon recognition of their dependant status.
The recognition of unmarried or same-sex partners for immigration purposes may not correspond precisely with national legislation for wider purposes. For example, a country that does not recognise civil partnerships or gay marriages in its national legislation may recognise de facto partners as accompanying family members if they are recognised in their home country. By contrast, the USA recognises same-sex spouses, but not opposite-sex unmarried partners even when they are recognised in their home country. In the case of diplomatic assignments, same-sex or unmarried partners may be recognised under bilateral agreements or de facto memoranda of understanding.
A landmark ruling at the European Court of Justice in 2018 resulted in improved rights for same-sex couples in the EU where one member of the couple is an EU citizen. Following the “Coman” judgement, in the context of enabling free movement of EU citizens for family reunification, recognition is given to the same-sex spouse in the destination Member State irrespective of whether that Member State allows same-sex marriage within its territory.