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How to Become a Permanent Resident in Australia

How to Become a Permanent Resident in Australia

In most of the countries, foreigners can become residents by applying for a permanent residence permit in Australia. In Australia, however, the residency is granted when the foreigner applies for a permanent visa. This document offers the right to migrate to Australia on an indefinite basis and it can open the way to citizenship.

Australian citizenship can be obtained by conferral by persons who have become permanent residents and who have an age between 18 to 59 years old. It is also available for persons outside this age category, but there are different procedures to follow.

Special rules apply for persons who have an age below 18 years old – there are 2 categories here: applicants with an age of 16 or 17 years old and applicants with an age below 15.

As a foreigner, a person can become a permanent resident in Australia through several legal pathways; however, all of them require the issuance of a permanent visa. You can find out the complete process involved in this case from our Australia immigration lawyer.

What are the basic options for becoming a permanent resident in Australia in 2023?

The basic legal options through which a foreign person can be granted residency in this country are prescribed by the Department of Home Affairs. One can become a permanent resident in Australia when applying for a permanent visa that can be issued for the following purposes: family-related purposes, business purposes or investment-related matters, or for work reasons.

 Quick Facts  
  Temporary residence permit types They vary based on the visa issued for the foreigner (for business purposes and non-business purposes, such as employment, study, family reunification, etc.)


Time needed to obtain the temporary residence permit (approx.)

It depends on the reason of arrival (it can take approximately 3 months)

Temporary residence permit validity

 It depends on the visa (it can vary between 1 and 4 years) 
Documents for obtaining temporary residence

Specific application form, valid passport, recent photos, supporting documents regarding the purpose of arrival, payment of the fee, etc.

Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register) It depends on the visa and the residence permit (it can be the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Immigration Office or the local police offices)
Dependents can join the temporary permit holder (Yes/No)

Yes – for certain categories of temporary visa holders (such as the temporary worker visa)

Temporary or permanent residency for investment purposes

Yes, both temporary and permanent residency are granted to investors based on the visa program they are interested in   

Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence  3 years / 4 years, depending on the visa program 
Documents for obtaining permanent residence Application form, passport, birth certificate, health examination, police clearance, income tax proof, payslips, English language skills, documents attesting the residential address 
Naturalization requirements  The applicant is a permanent resident, has an age of at least 16 years old, has been living in Australia for 4 years minimum, permanent residency is obtained for at least 12 months at the moment of the application, has a good character, pass a citizenship test
Citizenship after permanent residence One can apply for citizenship after being a permanent resident for at least one year 

The permanent visa for employment purposes can be requested by a foreigner who has obtained a job in Australia and who is sponsored by an Australian employee. This type of visa can also be used by persons who have a high level of expertise in their fields.

One can become a permanent resident in Australia when applying for a family-related permanent visa, which will grant the right to a residence permit in Australia. This document is available for those who migrate to Australia as partners, parents, dependent relatives, or children of persons who are Australian citizens or of foreign persons who have obtained the Australian residence permit in this country.

The same visa is open for persons who are citizens of New Zealand and who meet the required eligibility criteria; it can also be used by persons who are adopted children of Australian citizens or those who are in the process of being adopted. You can rely on the legal advice of our immigration lawyer in Australia if you are interested in the issuance of the residence permit required for adoption purposes.

Please mind that the issuance of a permanent residency visa can cost approximately AUD 4,000.

What are the main visa streams for residency in Australia for skilled persons?

One of the largest demands for the Australian residence permit is observed amongst the visas for skilled employees. Employment is, as a general rule, the main reason for which foreigners migrate to Australia and in most of the cases, the skilled stream is in high demand.

Those who want to apply for Australian residence through this legal pathway can choose between the following visa options: the Skilled Independent Visa, the Skilled State-Sponsored Visa, the Skilled Regional (provisional) Visa, the Skilled Work Regional (provisional) Visa, the Business Visa, the Investor Visa or the Business Talent Visa.

For the Skilled Independent Visa, 2023 brings certain changes for the New Zealand stream. This means that New Zealanders who apply for this visa in Australia should comply with new requirements in 2023.

However, the rules have been simplified. For instance, applicants are no longer required to be residents of Australia for 5 years at the moment when they apply for this visa type (as it was the case before 2023).

The state sponsorship visa is the Skilled Nominated Visa (or the Subclass 190), through which a foreigner can obtain residency in Australia on a permanent basis. This is available for persons who have a high degree of skills in certain types of jobs that are in high demand in Australia.

Please mind that this visa type is a granted on a point-based system and that it can be processed as a priority visa by the Australian institutions.

These visa categories are granted based on a point system which measures the eligibility of an applicant – the point system takes into consideration aspects such as the age of the applicant, the English proficiency, the person’s overall work experience (outside and in Australia), qualifications obtained in the profession in which the person works and others.

In order to obtain residency in Australia under the skilled program, an applicant should expect the process described in the list below, but of course, extensive information on other steps of the program can be presented by our immigration lawyer, who can also assist in the formalities for applying for a suitable visa:

  • first, you should select the occupation you currently have, which has to be listed amongst the occupations of skilled employment that is necessary for the Australian economy;
  • then, you must present information on your overall English proficiency;
  • after this, you must make an Expression of Interest, which means that you are interested in obtaining a visa for a particular skilled work activity, which will then be reviewed by the Australian authorities only in the case in which your application has at least 65 points;
  • if the application is positive, then you must receive an Invitation to Apply for the visa, which is made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection;
  • after you receive the Invitation to Apply, you will have 60 days in order to apply for the visa and for the residency in Australia;
  • if you will want to respond to the Invitation to Apply, you will submit an additional set of papers, along with the documents that show that you applied for the Australian residence.

What are the requirements for the Business Talent Visa in Australia?

The Business Talent Visa is one of the visas that can grant a foreigner with the right of permanent residency in Australia. There are two main streams available under this visa type, which have different requirements for the applicant – the Significant Business History Stream and the Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream.

For the first category, the applicant can apply for the visa and the Australian residence permit if he or she has an age below 55 years old. He or she must also have net assets of at least AUD 400,000 held in companies, 10% of the ownership of a public listed company and a company with a turnover of minimum AUD 4 million in the last 2 fiscal years. Here, either the first condition must be fulfilled, or the latter two.

For the second visa stream, the applicant has to provide evidence of the fact that he or she is a part of a venture capital funding agreement that has a value of at least AUD 1 million which was made through an Australian incorporated company that is a member of the Australia Venture Capital Association Limited; for legal representation on the application requirements, our immigration lawyer in Australia remains at your disposal.

Can a retiree become obtain a residence permit in Australia?

A foreigner can also apply for becoming a permanent resident in Australia as a retiree. For this, the foreigner must be the holder of a previous visa issued in Australia. In order to be eligible for permanent residency in Australia, the foreign retiree must have applied and obtained the Retirement Visa (subclass 410) or the Investment Retirement Visa (subclass 405).

The person can be eligible for a permanent residence permit in Australia only if he or she has obtained one of the above-mentioned visas. If starting with 8th of May 2018, the person has obtained any other type of visa, the eligibility criteria will not be satisfied. Besides these, it is necessary to know that the applicant must be in Australia at the moment the application is made.


What are the basic rights one has when becoming a permanent resident in Australia in 2023?

As a foreigner, one should be aware that the legislation for immigration in Australia makes a clear distinction between the rights of a permanent resident and those of an Australian citizen (having Australian citizenship allows you to vote, while being a permanent resident does not offer this right, for example).

You will be able to enroll in the local health system, to work and study here, apply for a bank loan for the purpose of purchasing a property, act as a sponsor for other family members living abroad and who want to migrate to Australia, but also to participate in free English classes. According to the data of the Parliament of Australia, the migration program yielded the following results (with regards to permanent residents):

• in 1984-1985, there were 44,200 permanent visas (granted as a residence permit in Australia) issued for family purposes, 10,100 for employment purposes and 14,207 for humanitarian reasons;
• 10 years later, in 1994-1995, the permanent visas issued for family purposes and humanitarian reasons were maintained at approximately the same level (44,500 and 14,858 respectively), but the number of persons relocated here on a permanent basis for employment purposes increased at 30,400;
• in 2004-2005, the number of permanent visas issued for immigration to Australia for humanitarian reasons and family reasons decreased (41,740 and 13,178 respectively), but the number of work visas increased at 77,880;
• in 2014-2015, there were 61,085 family-related permanent visas, 127,774 work visas and 13,756 humanitarian visas;
• in 2015-2016, the number of family visas slightly decreased at 57,400, while work visas increased at 128,550 – the humanitarian visas increased as well, at 17,555, reaching a record level since the beginning of the measurement, in 1984.

If you want to obtain a permanent residence permit in Australia, you will have the right of staying here on an indefinite basis and you can also apply for Australian citizenship, but you will not be allowed to vote or obtain a job in the Australian Government.

If you are planning to move to Australia with the purpose of becoming a permanent resident, you should know that the Australian Government will maintain for the period of 2020-2021 and for 2021-2022 the same migration program, through which 160,000 of permanent visas will be granted to persons interested in applying for immigration in this country. You should also know that the current migration program is mainly divided between permanent visas issued for employment purposes (the Skilled stream) and for family reunification programs.

If, for the year of 2021-2022, the Australian migration authorities established to issue a maximum of 160,000 permanent visas, for the financial year of 2022-2023, the number of permanent visas was increased at 195,000. This means that more foreigners can arrive in this country in 2023 for employment or other purposes.

Can students obtain residency in Australia on a permanent basis?

In certain cases, persons who qualify as students can become permanent residents. Please be aware that international students who have enrolled in local universities and have obtained a degree here are not automatically eligible for permanent residency, even though they have spent several years in Australia.

Permanent residency in Australia can be obtained in certain cases, if the applicant’s future occupation is eligible under a permanent residency visa; after graduating, foreign students who are not included in any of the visa categories that could allow them the right to permanent residency can apply for the Post Study Work Visa.

This visa type allows the right to work in Australia for a period of two years and it can be only be granted to those who have obtained a bachelor degree from an Australian education institution. Through this visa, one can meet the criteria for Australian residence issued on a permanent basis.

Persons who want to find out information on how to apply for a visa that grants the right of becoming a permanent resident in Australia are invited to address our lawyer. Our immigration lawyer in Australia is ready to assist you with valuable information, tailored in accordance with the characteristics of your situation.