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Becoming a permanent resident in Australia has a range of benefits. If you have been granted a permanent visa (as opposed to a temporary visa), you have the right to live and work in Australia indefinitely, avoiding the stress of navigating temporary residence visas. Permanent residency is also a step towards achieving Australian citizenship.

Becoming an Australian Permanent Resident

In Australia, eligibility for permanent residency is determined by the Department of Home Affairs, a department of the Australian Government which is responsible for immigration decisions, including the granting of permanent residencies and Australian citizenship.

Currently, there are three main forms of permanent residence visas in Australia, namely:

  1. Family-stream permanent residence visas;
  2. Work-stream permanent residence visas; and
  3. Business or investment-stream permanent residence visas.

These categories of permanent residency visas are explored in greater detail, below.

permanent resident

Family-related permanent visa categories

Some permanent residency visas are available to certain family members falling into particular categories (such as “partner visas”). Generally, family-related permanent residency can be applied for by those who are partners (including de facto), children, parents or dependant relatives of an Australian Citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or those who are eligible New Zealand citizens. In addition, permanent residency visas are available to children being adopted outside Australia, or carers who are moving to Australia to provide long-term assistance and care to an approved relative.

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Investment and business visa categories

Some categories of work visa provide permanent residency status to individuals looking to contribute to the business and/or investment environment in Australia. Generally, investment and business-related visa categories will require you to hold or to have held a more provisional visa relating to the investment and/or business in respect of which you seek permanent residency.

Some of these include:

  1. Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa – for entrepreneurs, investors and business owners looking to continue their business/investment activity within Australia;
  2. Investor visa – for those who hold a provisional subclass 162 visa; and
  3. State or Territory Sponsored Investor – this is to facilitate significant investment, for visa holders of a subclass 165 (provisional State/Territory sponsored investment visa).

Work-related permanent visa categories

Australia actively encourages skilled migration and skilled workers with particular professional skills and occupations. These generally will be available for workers who have skills valued by the Australian government, or if you have an Australian employer sponsoring you. In particular, Australia values skilled regional employment, and so if you are considering working in regional Australia, this will be highly valued in an application for a skilled worker visa.

If you are looking for a work visa which will provide you with eligibility to become a permanent resident of Australia, there are a range of visa subclasses that you may be eligible for. These include:

Migration – Skilled Independent Subclass 189 (New Zealand) Stream

Migration – Skilled Independent Subclass 189 (Points-tested) Stream

Migration – Skilled Regional Subclass 887

Migration – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494

Migration – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) SC 186

Migration – Regional Sponsored Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) SC 187

Migration – Skilled Nominated (subclass 190)

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The above is general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. You should contact our law firm for legal advice tailored to your specific legal matter. The courts deal with matters on a case-by-case basis. It should also be noted that there may be court delays due to COVID-19 and alternative arrangements made for legal proceedings.

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Frequently Asked Questions.

The cost of a visa application depends on the kind of visa for which you are applying. Some business/investment visas can cost anywhere from $2,500 (AUD), up to almost $8,000 (AUD).

The application process (including processing times) for Australian visas are all provided for by the Department of Home Affairs. Processing times depend on the particular visa you are applying for and your circumstances as an applicant, such as whether you require a bridging visa or an employer nomination (or nomination from a State/Territory government).

There are English language requirements for certain permanent visa categories, as well as for obtaining Australian citizenship. It is important to seek guidance on whether your Australian visa has English language requirements to determine your eligibility.

Unlike a temporary visa, a permanent visa will allow you to live and work in Australia indefinitely and with no limits on the time you are allowed to spend here. In addition, applicants for Australian citizenship will have completed a period of permanent residency prior to making an application.

Australia values skilled migration, international investment, and respects the need to maintain family and community ties (particularly in regional Australia). Provided you have a sound background and fall into a category of permanent visa subclass, it is not hard to obtain permanent residency. Often, applicants will have spent time as a visa holder of a temporary visa, prior to obtaining a permanent visa.

Student visas in Australia typically only remain valid for your period of enrolment in study (i.e. the length of the course for which you are enrolled as an international student). A bridging visa may be available if you are able to show that you will be eligible for a permanent visa at the end of your period of enrolment (i.e. if you find sponsored employment).

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