Comprehensive Guide to Australia’s Permanent Residency Visa
Australia, with its high quality of life, stable economy, and beautiful landscapes, has become a popular destination for individuals seeking to immigrate. One of the most sought-after immigration pathways is through acquiring Permanent Residency (PR). This comprehensive guide aims to help you understand the Australian PR Visa, its types, the application process, and the benefits of becoming a permanent resident.
Types of Australian PR Visas
There are several types of Australian PR visas, each serving different purposes and having specific requirements. Here are the key ones:
Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
This visa is for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer, a state or territory, or a family member. A visa holder can live and work permanently anywhere in Australia.
Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)
This visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian state or territory. It allows you to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.
Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491)
This is a provisional visa which allows skilled workers to live and work in regional or low-population growth metropolitan areas of Australia for five years. After three years, you can apply for permanent residence.
Partner Visa (Subclasses 820 and 801)
These visas allow the spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia.
Documents Needed for the Australian PR Visa Application
Regardless of the subclass of the PR visa you’re applying for, there are some essential documents you will need to submit. These include:
- Passport: All applicants must have a valid passport. For the primary applicant, the passport must be valid for at least six months.
- Birth Certificate: A copy of your birth certificate showing both your parents’ names. If you don’t have a birth certificate and are unable to get one, you may provide other acceptable evidence of your identity.
- Photographs: Recent passport-sized photographs are required. The photos should follow the prescribed standards set by the Department of Home Affairs.
- Proof of Change of Name: If you or any individuals included in the application have changed their name, include a certified copy of the proof of change of name.
- Character Certificate: You will need police certificates for each country you’ve lived in for a cumulative period of 12 months or more, in the last ten years.
- Health Examination: You may be required to undergo a health examination as part of your visa application process.
- Evidence of English Language Proficiency: You may need to provide results of an English language test.
- Skills Assessment: Depending on the visa subclass you are applying for, you may need to provide a suitable skills assessment for your nominated occupation.
- Education and Work Experience Documents: Educational degrees, diplomas, certificates, and resumes detailing work experience may be required.
- Form 80: This form provides additional information about your background as part of the visa application.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and the required documents can vary depending on your individual circumstances, including your country of citizenship, your family members, and the specific subclass of the PR visa you’re applying for.
Applying for an Australian PR Visa
The application process for Australian PR varies depending on the visa subclass but generally follows these steps:
- Assessment of Eligibility: Determine which visa you qualify for based on factors such as age, skills, occupation, health, and character. The Department of Home Affairs provides a complete list of eligibility requirements for each visa subclass.
- Expression of Interest (EOI): Submit an EOI through the SkillSelect online system. You’ll need to provide a range of information in your EOI depending on the visa subclass, including your skills, qualifications, and proficiency in English.
- Invitation to Apply: After submitting your EOI, it will be visible to Australian authorities as well as potential employers who might nominate you for a visa. If you are successful, you will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for a visa.
- Application Submission: Upon receiving an ITA, you can proceed to submit your formal visa application along with all necessary documentation. Your application will then be processed by the Department of Home Affairs.
- Visa Grant: If your application is successful, you’ll receive your PR visa, which grants you the right to live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely.
Points System for Skilled Visas
Australia operates a points-based system for Skilled Migration Visas. The points test is a mechanism used to help select skilled migrants who offer the best prospects for long term contribution to Australia’s economy. Points are awarded for factors including age, English proficiency, skilled employment, educational qualifications, and others. A minimum score of 65 points is usually required, although this can vary depending on the specific visa subclass and other factors.
Benefits of Becoming a Permanent Resident of Australia
Becoming a permanent resident of Australia comes with many benefits, including:
- Right to Live in Australia Indefinitely: PR visa holders have the right to live, work and study in Australia without any time limit.
- Access to Public Healthcare: PR visa holders are eligible for the benefits of Medicare, Australia’s public healthcare system.
- Access to Education: Children of PR visa holders have the right to free education in Australian public schools.
- Sponsor Family Members: PR visa holders can sponsor their family members to come to Australia.
- Apply for Australian Citizenship: After living in Australia for a certain period of time, PR visa holders can apply for Australian citizenship.
Common Questions about the Australian PR Visa
Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Australian PR visa.
- What is the processing time for an Australian PR visa?
The processing time varies based on the visa subclass and the completeness of the application. For most skilled visas, the processing time is usually between 6 to 8 months. However, it could take longer in some cases.
- How long is the Australian PR visa valid for?
The PR visa allows you to remain indefinitely in Australia with a re-entry facility for five years. This means the visa holder can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as they want within five years from the date the visa is granted.
- What if my PR visa expires while I’m outside Australia?
If your PR visa expires while you’re outside Australia, you won’t be able to re-enter as a permanent resident. In this case, you can apply for a Resident Return visa (RRV) to re-enter Australia.
- Can I include my family members in my PR visa application?
Yes, you can include members of your family unit in your application when you apply. You can also add dependent children to your application at any time before your application is decided.
- Do I need to have a job offer to apply for a PR visa?
For some visas like the Skilled Independent Visa, you don’t need a job offer. However, for others like the Skilled Nominated Visa, you’ll need a nomination from an Australian employer.
Obtaining permanent residency in Australia can be a complex process but it can open the door to a rewarding life down under. The first step is understanding which PR visa pathway is the most suitable for you and the eligibility requirements. It’s important to carefully prepare your application and ensure all information and documents are accurate to increase your chances of success.