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Getting Permanent Residency in Australia, requirements, the process and FAQs

Australian permanent residency is granted to specific visa holders in Australia. Australia offers a few immigration programmes such as family stream, work-stream, business stream, special eligibility stream, and child stream permanent visas. The first three migration programmes are the most popular, and the latter two see fewer applicants.

For foreigners to obtain an Australian permanent residency, they have to meet some specific requirements.

Which Australian Visas Lead to Permanent  Residency?

These visas let you stay permanently in Australia:

Family Stream Visas

Work Stream Visas

Business and Investment Visas

Other visas

Australian Permanent Residency Requirements

For any type of Australia permanent visa, you have to provide the following:

  • Valid Passport.
  • Permanent Visa Application Form.
  • Authorised Recipient Form (if applicable).
  • Proof of Paid Base Fee.
  • Recent Identity Photographs.
  • National ID.
  • Police Clearance.
  • Civil Documents.
  • Proof of Financial Stability.
  • Health Insurance.
  • A written invite (if applicable).
  • Requirement for good conduct.
  • Sign the Values Declaration.

Health Requirements for Australian Permanent Visa

Meeting the health requirements means that you must be:

  • Free from any disease or condition that requires significant healthcare service cost.
  • Free of any disease or health condition that may put a demand on short supply services in Australia thus, damaging the healthcare service for Australian permanent residents and citizens, i.e., dialysis and organ transplant.
  • Free from any disease that might threaten public health (measles, tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis, yellow fever, polio, and Ebola).

For permanent visa applicants, it’s obligatory to meet the health requirements as set out by Immigration Office and complete the required health examinations. All of your family members who are applying for the visa have to pass the health examinations.

In cases when the applicant has had a full medical examination sometime during the last 12 months, they might not be required to re-do the complete health check.

What if I Fail the Health Requirements for Australian Permanent Residency?

If you don’t meet the health requirements, you won’t receive a permanent residence visa. What you can do in those cases is apply for a health waiver. If a health waiver is granted, then you will most likely receive your permanent visa.

However, you must have really strong reasons why you believe that you actually meet the health requirements. Plus, you will only be granted a health waiver if you meet the rest of the visa requirements.

How to Get Permanent Residency in Australia?

The most common way to get permanent residency in Australia is by having one of the following:

  • Family-stream permanent visa.
  • Work-stream permanent visa.
  • Business or investor-stream permanent visa.

There some other visas which applicants can use to gain permanent residency in Australia:

  • Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 124).
  • Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 858).
  • Refugee and Humanitarian visas.
  • Retirement visa pathway.

Do I Have to Have a Temporary Visa Before Permanent Residency?

Most of the time you will be required to have a provisional visa in the same immigration category before you apply for the permanent visa. However for some visa types within the family stream, you must apply for the temporary visa and the permanent residency visa at the same time. For example, you may apply for a temporary partner visa (subclass 820), and for your permanent visa (subclass 801), simultaneously since your temporary visa will allow you to live freely in Australia while your permanent visa is being processed.

If there are no problems with your permanent visa application, you should receive your permanent visa immediately after you receive your temporary visa. However, if you don’t get your permanent residency immediately it may take up to two years or more to processes your permanent visa application.

What Is the Cost for Australian Permanent Residency?

The cost for permanent visas varies on what type of visa you are applying for initially:

  • Family Stream Permanent (Partner) Visa Fee- subclass 801: AUD 7,715.
  • Business Stream Permanent visas- subclasses 888, 893 and 891: AUD 2,450-2,950.

The cost for a permanent visa through a work-stream migration program is liable to change according to the applicant’s personal circumstances, plus there are different streams available within the work visa category and the fee will vary depending on what type of visa you are applying for.

How to Apply for an Australian Permanent Visa?

  1. Select the visa type.
  2. Check the requirements for each type of visa.
  3. Assemble the documents.
  4. Apply for the visa.

Select the Visa Type

Before you apply for an Australian permanent visa you have to select the type of visa that leads to a permanent resident status (see below). You can select the type of visa in your ImmiAccount or choose the specific form that corresponds to your visa application if you are applying on paper.

Check the Requirements for Each Type of Visa

Depending on your visa application there will be different requirements you have to meet. However, each permanent visa application must fulfill the character requirement and the health requirements.

Assemble the Documents

Collect all the important documents you need to submit for your visa application. These will be listed in all of the visa application forms but, make sure you follow the documents’ guidelines as stated by the Immigration Office (translation, certification, etc.).

Apply for the Visa

Finally, you can apply for the visa you want. You can submit either a paper application or an online application but, online applications are processed faster than paper applications.

Australian Immigration Rules for Permanent Residency

In order to qualify for Australia permanent residency, some rules depending on the migration programme have to be fulfilled:

  • Applicants can’t be more than 45 years of age (work-stream-based permanent residency).
  • Applicants have to provide an English language test proficiency certificate (most permanent residency programs).
  • Applicants must have a Master’s or Doctoral degree (for research work based).
  • Applicants should present sponsorship when they apply (for sponsor visas).
  • Applicants must have a spouse or de facto partner in Australia (for family stream migration programme).

Applicants who can’t apply for the work-based migration program due to their age can apply for permanent residence through the retirement visa pathway.

How Long Can a Permanent Resident Stay Outside of Australia?

Permanent residents have a travel facility that allows them to travel freely in and out of Australia only for five years. After five years are over, the travel facility expires, if you leave Australia when your travel facility is over, you won’t be able to re-enter.

What Should I Do After My Travel Facility Is Over?

After having an Australia permanent residency for five years, you have to switch to a Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157). With a resident return visa, you can freely leave and re-enter Australia for another 5 years- you can apply for a resident return visa as many times as you need to.

However, your resident return visa may be valid for less than five years (one year or three months) depending on your personal situation. You don’t need this visa if you don’t plan on traveling.

How Do I Know When My Travel Facility Is Over?

Your travel facility expires after 5 years from the date your permanent residency visa is issued. Some specific visa holders will receive a notification 60 days before their travel facility expires:

  • Partner visa- subclass 101.
  • Partner visa-subclass 100.
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa- subclass 856.
  • Skilled sponsored visa- subclass 176.

What if My Travel Facility Expired While I Was Outside of Australia?

If you were outside of Australia when your travel facility expired, you have to apply for a resident return visa or Australian citizenship. If you are not eligible for any of these, then you have to apply for another permanent visa (former resident visa, family visa, or skilled visa).

You can’t re-enter Australia without a valid visa but, you shouldn’t apply for a temporary visa only to return, otherwise, your permanent residency status will be affected negatively.

Do I Need to Renew My Australia Permanent Residency Visa?

You need to renew your travel facility which is attached to your permanent visa but, not the visa itself. You can do so through the visa subclass 155 and 157 (return resident visa), and you have different options to renew your travel policy depending on how long you’ve spent in Australia as a resident.

Can Australia Permanent Residency Expire?

Your Australia permanent residency can’t expire but, its travel facility will expire after 5 years from the date your visa was issued.

Can I Lose My Permanent Residency in Australia?

Generally speaking, you can’t lose your permanent residency in Australia. Still, there are a few occasions when you might be at risk of losing your status as a permanent resident.

For example, if you are no longer in the same relationship you were when you applied for a family stream permanent visa you may lose your permanent residence. In addition to this, violating the good character rules during the time you hold a permanent residency, may result in losing your permanent visa.

However, each case is reviewed carefully and it will take a compelling reason to cancel your permanent resident status.

What Is the Difference Between Australian Permanent Residency and Citizenship?

The difference between an Australian permanent residency and citizenship is that a permanent resident is not allowed to do the following:

  • Hold an Australian passport.
  • Vote in Australia.
  • Apply for student loans.
  • Be a part of the Australian Defence Force.
  • Work within the Australian Government.
  • Re-enter Australia if your travel facility is expired.

Having an Australia permanent residence means that you are allowed to:

  • Work and study indefinitely in Australia.
  • Access Medicare services.
  • Buy property through bank loans.
  • Sponsor other family members for permanent residence.
  • Apply for Australia citizenship.
  • Follow free language classes.
  • Work in New Zealand.
  • Travel as you wish (as long as your travel facility is valid).

Australia Permanent Residency Statistics

According to the annual statistical report by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia, there was a total number of 140,366 applicants for permanent migration in 2019/2020.

Permanent Residency Stream Number of applicants
Skill and work-stream 95,843
Family stream 41,61
Special eligibility stream 81
Child stream 2,481
Total 140,366

Australia runs the migration programme each year and in the 2019/2020 period there 69.5 percent of people from the total that applied through the skill and work-stream. While the family stream made up 30.4 percent of the total number of applicants (140,366).

In terms of country of origin, India had the largest number of permanent visa applicants with 25,698 out of the total number. India was then followed by China with 18,587 applicants and then the UK with 10,681.

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