An Australian permanent resident is a resident of Australia who holds a permanent resident visa, but is not considered to be an Australian citizen. A person who has gained permanent residency is entitled to remain indefinitely in Australia. When a permanent residence visa is granted, it is for an initial period of 5 years. During this time a holder of this visa may leave and return to Australia at any time. If he or she is in Australia after the 5 year initial period expires, this does not remove the entitlement to staying in the country.
When can permanent residency status be revoked?
There are times when permanent residence status can be lost or revoked if a criminal offense has been committed. This may involve deportation from the country. In other words you have to toe the line if you want to keep your permanent residency status.
Rights given to a permanent resident in Australia include:
- access to free or subsidised health care;
- free schooling for children;
- rights to employment;
- all rights as if an Australian citizens except voting in state and federal elections;
- access to Australian consular assistance abroad (although this right may be subject to restrictions);
- unlimited visa free travel rights New Zealand, including the right to live, work and travel.
Anyone born in Australia is entitled to an Australian passport. A permanent resident is only entitled to a passport after a certain period of time has been spent in the country or as a permanent resident. Most permanent residents become eligible for an Australian passport after this waiting period. To gain citizenship and eligibility to an Australian passport it is necessary to pass a citizenship test and attend a ceremony.
The route to Australian permanent residency
One of the routes is through the General Skilled Migration Program which in some years has accounted for more than 120,000 visas.
The Humanitarian Program set up for refugees offers almost 15,000 visas a year. Once a refugee is accepted under this program partners and children are accepted too.
Whatever route a migrant takes to enter Australia he or she will be required to get documents that are not written in English translated by a NAATI translator into English. NAATI means National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters and translators accredited by NAATI are the only Migration Translators permitted to do official translations of documents needed to migrate to Australia. This includes birth, marriage, degree and diploma certificates.
New Zealand citizens
There is a special category visa available for New Zealanders on arrival in Australia. They aren’t eligible to become citizens unless they go through the permanent residency process but they can stay for an unlimited period with access to health services and employment.
Generally speaking, all New Zealand citizens are in the same immigration boat as any other citizens when it comes to applying for permanent residence but the fact that it is easier for them to live and work in Australia means it may be easier for them to fulfil the residency requirements.