How to get permanent residency in Australia

How to get permanent residency in Australia

by Laura Jones

Updated May 5, 2022

Are you wondering how to stay permanently in Australia? If you’ve fallen in love with the Land Down Under and decided to settle among the Aussies, you’ll need to apply for permanent residency in Australia. Often, this will come only after a temporary stay in the country on a work visa, especially if you don’t have family there. Let’s find out what your options are to make your stay in Australia permanent.

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How do I become a permanent resident in Australia?

There are a lot of different visas that give you permanent residency in Australia. The three most common ways to stay in Australia are to get one of the following types of visa: 

  • a family-stream permanent visa
  • a work-stream permanent visa
  • a business or investor-stream permanent visa

To get a visa in the first category, you need to be a close family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident; many people in this category apply for a partner visa

Work-stream permanent visas are the most common type of permanent visa applied for in Australia. In the year 2019/2020, almost 70% of permanent visa applications were in this category. There are lots of different work visas available and to apply for many of the permanent ones, you often need to already have been working in Australia on a temporary visa for a certain number of years. Some of these visas also require sponsorship from an employer. For permanent working visas, applicants usually have to be under the age of 45.

The final stream is for people who want to set up or continue running a business or invest in Australia. There are lots of conditions you need to meet for all of these visas and you should check the Australian government website to see what applies to you. 

Does Australian permanent residency expire?

No, a permanent resident visa from Australia doesn’t expire. However, all permanent residence visas have a travel permit attached to them which allows you to travel in and out of Australia freely for five years. When this expires, you need to apply for a Resident Return visa, which is usually valid for another five years and allows you to continue to travel. If you don’t want to leave Australia, you don’t need to do anything as your permanent resident visa is still valid. 

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What can I do with permanent residence in Australia?

You can live in Australia indefinitely! On top of that, you’ll be able to apply for jobs and education courses, get a loan from the bank and enroll in Medicare, the national health scheme. You’ll also be eligible to apply to bring qualifying family members over and possibly apply for citizenship after some time. Who doesn’t want a passport with a kangaroo on the front?

Is it hard to get permanent residency in Australia?

Besides the requirements around working or family members we mentioned, there are other conditions you need to fulfill to get permanent residency in Australia. Applicants aged 15 years and over will need to have a medical examination, a chest x-ray and an HIV test. For some permanent visas, you’ll need to meet the English language requirements. If you want to work in Australia, you’ll need to speak at least some English to have access to a wide range of jobs. 

All permanent visa applicants have to agree to the relevant Australian Values Statement and must be of good character (that’s pretty vague: you can read more about it here!). 

What about students and working holiday makers?

Many students choose to switch over to the Temporary Graduate visa after they finish university and then look for permanent visa options after some time working in the country. Working holiday visa holders will usually need to switch to a different temporary visa before being able to apply for a permanent one. However, as we’ve said, there are tons of different ways to become a permanent resident so you should check your specific circumstances on the government’s official website. 


How can I get Australian permanent residency?

One of the easiest ways is by marrying an Australian. But, if you haven’t fallen head over heels for an Aussie, you’ll need another way. You could apply for a skilled work visa or a business visa, but often only after spending a few years in the country. You’ll probably need to speak English (Aussie-style!) and be in fairly good health. And once your permanent visa for Australia is granted, you’re good to settle in Down Under for the long haul.

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Laura is a freelance writer and was an ESL teacher for eight years. She was born in the UK and has lived in Australia and Poland, where she writes blogs for Lingoda about everything from grammar to dating English speakers. She’s definitely better at the first one. She loves travelling and that’s the other major topic that she writes on. Laura likes pilates and cycling, but when she’s feeling lazy she can be found curled up watching Netflix. She’s currently learning Polish, and her battle with that mystifying language has given her huge empathy for anyone struggling to learn English. Find out more about her work in her portfolio.