Australian permanent resident
Australian permanent residents are residents of Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 who hold permanent residency visas
Visa (document)
A visa is a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry. The authorization may be a document, but more commonly it is a stamp endorsed in the applicant's passport...

but are not citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Holders of permanent residency visas may remain in Australia indefinitely. A 5-year initial visa, which corresponds to the underlying migration scheme, is granted alongside the permanent residency. Until the initial visa expires, the visa holder may leave and re-enter Australia freely. A notable feature of the permanent residency visa is that, even after the initial visa expires, the holder is entitled to stay in Australia indefinitely without breaching immigration regulations.
After the initial visa expires, if the holder wishes to continue to travel to and from Australia as a permanent resident, they must obtain a Resident Return Visa (RRV). However those who live for too long outside Australia may lose their permanent resident status.

Permanent residency may be revoked at the discretion of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. However this does not normally happen other than in cases of criminal misconduct.

There are multiple programs under which an applicant may obtain permanent residency. The "General Skilled Migration Program" is mainly for skilled migrants, and has made available 168,700 visas for year 2010-2011. The "Humanitarian Program" is mainly for refugees seeking permanent residency, and has made available 13,750 visas for year 2010-2011. Family members can also be sponsored. An unlimited number of visas can be issued for partners (either married or de facto) and dependent children. Visas for other family member types are subject to restriction (known as "capping"); for example there are only 1000 visas available under the 'Parent' category, and as a consequence there is currently up to a twenty year waiting period before undergoing consideration for these visas.

Most permanent residents are eligible to become citizens after a waiting period. When the waiting period is complete, the process of sitting the citizenship test and attending the ceremony will add an additional three to twelve months.

Permanent residents enjoy many of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to free or subsidised legal and health services and education. They do not have the right to vote in federal elections
Politics of Australia
The Politics of Australia take place within the framework of a parliamentary democracy, with electoral procedures appropriate to a two-party system. Australia is governed as a federation and as a constitutional monarchy, with an adversarial legislature based upon the Westminster system...

, but some states
Electoral systems of the Australian states and territories
The legislatures of the Australian states and territories all follow the Westminster model described in the Australian electoral system. When the Australian colonies were granted responsible government in the nineteenth century, their constitutions provided for legislative assemblies elected by...

 allow permanent residents from Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries to vote in State and local government elections. Some citizens of Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries who were enrolled to vote on 25 January 1984 are entitled to retain voting rights.

Citizens of New Zealand

Citizens of New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 are allowed to enter and remain in Australia indefinitely under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement
Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement
The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement is an informal agreement between Australia and New Zealand to allow for the free movement of citizens of one nation to the other.- Treaty history :...

, being granted a Special Category Visa
Special Category Visa
A Special Category Visa is a type of Australian visa granted to most New Zealand citizens on arrival in Australia. New Zealand Citizens may then reside in Australia indefinitely under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.- History :...

 on arrival, but must obtain a proper permanent residency permit if they arrived after 26 February 2001 and wish to enjoy the privileges of permanent residents.


Benefits of permanent resident status include:
  • Few limitations on employment in Australia. Some job opportunities, largely state or federal governmental work, require citizenship as opposed to permanent residence.
  • The right to apply for Australian citizenship
    Australian nationality law
    Australian nationality law determines who is and who is not an Australian, and is based primarily on the principle of Jus soli. The status of Australian citizenship was created by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 which received Royal Assent on 21 December 1948 and came into force on...

     after fulfilling some criteria.
  • The right to apply for a Commonwealth supported place
    Tertiary education fees in Australia
    As a general rule, all students who attend Australian tertiary education institutions are charged higher education fees. However, several measures are in place to relieve the costs of tertiary education in Australia....

    at approved higher education institutions.
  • For permanent residents accepted under the humanitarian program and enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place, the right to defer payment of their student contribution under the HECS-HELP scheme.
  • The right to sponsor relatives for permanent residence, subject to fulfilling residence criteria and assurance of support requirements.
  • Children born inside Australia will be Australian citizens by birth.
  • The right to access medical and social security benefits, though there is a 2-year waiting period for some benefits.
  • The right to travel to New Zealand without applying for a New Zealand visa. (This right is granted by the New Zealand government.)
  • Unrestricted rights to live, work and study in New Zealand. (This right is granted by the New Zealand government.)

External links

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