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SAGA CORNER

What are the benefits of having an Australian PR visa?

Here, PR stands for “permanent resident”. Put simply, a resident that lives permanently in a country, but is not a citizen.

When an immigrant decides to settle in Australia, living and working in the Land Down Under on a permanent basis, they take up permanent residence in the country.

An individual can become a permanent resident of Australia by applying for and being granted a permanent visa for Australia, allowing them to remain in Australia indefinitely. The most common Australian permanent visas that lead to Australia PR include some family immigration and general skilled migration visas. 

While enjoying several benefits in the capacity of a PR, a permanent resident is not a citizen. A PR in a country will always be the citizen of another country. Generally, a PR holder can eventually transition onto the citizenship of the country that they have been living in. 

In terms of Australia immigration, there are many and divergent routes that lead to Australia PR. Anyone looking at taking up permanent residency in Australia can explore 40+ different Australian migrant visas available that allow a migrant to come to live in Australia permanently. 

As per the Department of Home Affairs of the Australian government, the precise definition of permanent resident varies for visa or citizenship purposes. 

For the purposes of an Australian visa, an Australian citizen is “a non-citizen who holds an Australian permanent visa, or is usually resident in Australia and holds a permanent visa”.

While temporary visa holders in Australia also enjoy various benefits and opportunities, there are comparatively fewer restrictions placed on an Australian PR in terms of their ability of living, working, and studying in Australia

Nevertheless, a permanent resident of Australia does not have an automatic right of entry into Australia. To be able to return to Australia as a permanent resident, the individual must possess a permanent visa for Australia along with the valid travel authority for entering the country.

So, what actually are the benefits of taking up permanent residence in Australia?

As a permanent resident of Australia, an individual can remain in Australia indefinitely, working and studying anywhere within the country. An Australian PR holder might be able to sponsor their eligible relatives for permanent residence in Australia. 

An Australian PR also entitles an individual to enrol in Medicare, the universal health insurance scheme of Australia. Medicare guarantees all Australians – permanent residents and citizens – access to various health and hospital services in Australia at either no cost or a low cost. 

An Australian PR can eventually apply for the citizenship of Australia after they have lived in Australia for a span of 4 years as a permanent resident. This is referred to as “citizenship by conferral”. Children under the age of 16 years, while not required to meet the general residence requirements, must be permanent residents of Australia. 

Another benefit of taking up Australian permanent residence is that it allows the individual to work anywhere in New Zealand. 

Introduced in 1973, the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement [TTTA] allows New Zealand and Australia permanent residents and citizens to enter each other’s country for the purposes of working, living and working indefinitely, without there being any requirement for applying for prior authority. 

An Australian PR visa also qualifies the visa holder for other government benefits and services. Nevertheless, an individual that is holding a permanent visa for Australia but is not residing within Australia can have their eligibility for government benefits impacted. 

While a permanent resident of Australia enjoys various benefits, PR and citizenship are not the same and must not be confused with each other. While a PR is not citizenship, it does lead to citizenship down the line. 

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