What is Permanent Residency?

Permanent Residency is the state of being in Australia on a permanent visa; it is not the same as being a citizen. If you get a permanent visa, whether it be a permanent work visa, a permanent partner visa, or some other kind of permanent visa, you have permanent residency, or PR, in Australia.

The reason permanent residency is desirable is because of the benefits that come with it. In general, it gives you the right to live and worm in Australia, and enjoy most of the benefits that a citizen of Australia enjoys. Some of the these benefits include access to subsidised medical care via Medicare, the Australian health system; access to subsidised education; and access to legal aid. You can also potentially sponsor someone for a visa.

How to get Permanent Residency

The manner in which you get Permanent Residency depends on your situation. Some people will get it through a relationship with an Australian, whether immediately, or after a period of time on a ‘provisional’ partner visa; others will get it through the grant of a permanent work visa, which depends on your occupation being one that is listed on one of the skills shortage lists, and you either finding an employer to sponsor you, or you possessing the required attributes, in terms of education, work experience, age, and English language ability, to get a permanent work visa in your own right.

Visa pathways to Permanent Residency

Although it is possible to apply directly for a permanent work visa, either with or without a sponsoring employer, for many people, the grant of a permanent work visa is the result of them having spent time on other visas while in Australia, during which period they were gradually able to acquire the education, work experience, and English language ability, and/or sponsorship, needed to fulfil the requirements necessary to be eligible for a permanent work visa.

Some people may have arrived in Australia as a student, decided they want to stay after their course, and then been granted a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. They may have spent the 18 months, maybe more, on this visa, undertaking strategies to improve their points score on the Points Test – the Points Test being a system of identifying desirable workers through awarding points for attributes that the government considers make them more employable.

They may have spent time on this visa improving their English language ability and re-sitting an IELTS exam in order to get a higher score; they may have managed to find a job in their occupation and thereby earn extra points for work experience. The result of this may be that the former student may now be in a position to get a skilled visa. If they are still not able to get a permanent work visa in their own right, maybe they could increase their chances by seeking state sponsorship, or by a willingness to move to a regional area for a period of time.

Alternatively, they may have found an employer willing to sponsor them on a Temporary Work (subclass 457) visa, which can be used as a stepping stone to a permanent work visa. After two years on a 457, and provided the employer was willing to sponsor them again for a permanent work visa, they may have applied for, and been granted, one of the permanent work visas.

In short, there are various pathways available, and strategies to follow, to students to eventually get a permanent work visa which provides them with permanent residency in Australia. It is a matter of looking at options, and deciding the best path to take.

For people in Australia on a working holiday visa, or even on a visitor visa, and wanting to use their qualifications and experience in a certain occupation listed on the skills shortage list as a means to get a work visa, there are likewise, certain pathways to permanent residency. This may, similarly, include sitting English exams to increase their point score, or getting sponsorship from an employer for a Temporary Work (subclass 457) visa; and which after two years on this visa, the same employer may agree to sponsor them for a permanent work visa that gives them permanent residency in Australia. It may also be that the person’s best option is to apply for a student visa, if there are further qualifications they would like to attain; or maybe the best option is for them to leave the country and then apply for another visa outside the country, or spend a while in their own country getting some work experience, and then applying for a work visa again in a year or two.

The best pathway depends very much on each individual’s circumstances, the current occupations listed on the skills shortage lists, the person’s qualifications, work experience, English language ability, age, past visa history in Australia, and other factors that are relevant. In short, advice on the best pathway for each person has to be tailored to their particular situation.

Other pathways to permanent residency exist, though meeting an Australian partner and getting a partner visa, or getting a permanent work visa through navigating the various pathways that can lead to this result, are the most common.

Alta Visa will let you know your options after we have done an initial assessment. To get an idea how we go about assessing your options, please read the ‘Consultation Info’ page here.