Many people dream of securing permanent residency in Australia, and there are several ways that you can achieve this.
If you meet the requirements and the point score for a skilled visa, either Skilled Independent (189 visa) or Skilled Sponsored (190 visa) you gain PR as soon as your visa is activated. Such visas can be processed in 6 to 8 months. If you are sponsored by a regional area or by a relative who lives in certain areas of Australia (489 visa) you also step onto the PR pathway.
Sponsorship on a 457 visa puts you on track to PR. After two years on a 457 visa with the same sponsor you can be sponsored on a residency visa without needing a skill assessment. You may be eligible to be sponsored by an employer on a permanent residency visa straight away through Direct Entry. This depends on your qualifications and work experience and the location of the employer.
Eligible parents who apply for a contributory parent visa are eligible for permanent residency when their visa is activated. This takes 18 to 24 months. Parents who wait in the queue to be assessed also get PR, but this can take more than 10 to 12 years. This includes parents who can live with you in Australia during the processing time.
Most partner visas are temporary at first, but lead to residency if the relationship continues. PR visas are available to couples who have lived together for the three years prior to the application, or who have lived together for two years and have a child together.
Permanent residency gives you many of the rights and privileges that Australian citizens enjoy. Your partner and children are also granted PR and all family members have access to subsidised education at an Australian school or university and subsidised healthcare through Medicare. Although permanent residents pay the same fees as domestic students, it is important to note that permanent residents cannot access the HECS student loan system, so we encourage all residents to apply for citizenship as soon as they are eligible.
Most permanent residents can apply for Australian citizenship after living in Australia for four years, provided at least 12 months of this was as a permanent resident.
There is a big difference between permanent residency and Australian citizenship.
When you become an Australian citizen you gain the same rights as those who were born in Australia. After becoming a citizen you can call yourself an “Australian” in the full sense of the word, and you have the same rights and privileges as Australians who were born in the country, including voting rights.
You must apply to DIAC to become an Australian citizen. After you have lodged the completed application form and paid the appropriate fee you will be contacted by the department.
Once you have notification of the success of your application you will be invited to participate in an Australian citizenship ceremony where you make the Australian Citizenship Pledge. Before this point, you will need to pass the Citizenship Test. Introduced in 2007, this compulsory exam will test a person’s language and will quiz applicants on their responsibilities as an Australian citizen.