How to Gain Permanent Residence in Australia
If you are considering making a permanent move to Australia to live, you are in good company. As of 2020, there were 7.6 million migrants living in the ‘lucky country’, with nearly 30% of the nation’s entire population having been born overseas. The largest source of migrants to Australia is England, with nearly one million people have made the journey ‘down under’ in search of a new life. And it is easy to see why Australia is so popular; the weather is sunny for much of the year, the beaches are world-class, the lifestyle is laid back, and employment opportunities are excellent. Many migrants considering moving to Australia are interested not just in securing a short-term visa but are looking for a permanent move. In this article, we will explain the various options available to those who wish to gain permanent residence in Australia.
Several Roads To Permanent Residence In Australia
There are three primary routes to permanent residence in Australia; family, employment, and business/investment. There are other options available, including for eligible retirees, former residents, those with an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement, and the refugee/humanitarian route. In this article, we will focus in particular on the requirements for gaining permanent residence through the three primary routes. Australia offers a wide range of different visa types (as a case in point, there are 37 different family visa types), hence it is important before you apply that you check you are on the correct track for your needs and those of your family. If you are unsure or to check, speak to an Immigration Solicitor who can advise you.
Gaining Australian Permanent Residency Through Family
The main family-based immigration routes in Australia are the partner visa and the child visa. There are several other visa types, including for parents, remaining relatives, and dependant relatives, however, the application processing times for these are measured in decades (50 years in the case of the remaining relatives and aged dependant relative visas).
For migrant partners to secure permanent residence under the family route, they must apply for a Partner (provisional) visa (subclass 309) and Partner (Migrant) visa (subclass 100) at the same time. The main requirement for the partner route is that the applicant must be a spouse or de facto partner (i.e. not married but in a genuine, committed relationship and you live together) of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. The wait time for a temporary partner visa is around 22 months, and the cost for both visas is AUD7,715.
Child visas allow dependant children of an Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen, and Australian permanent visa holder to move permanently to Australia. The applicant may be a step-child, adopted child, or biological child. To be eligible, the child cannot be married or in a de facto relationship. The processing time or a Child visa (subclass 101) is around 20 months, and the cost is AUD2,665.
Gaining Australian Permanent Residency Through Employment
Like the family route, there are many work-stream visa routes to permanent residency in Australia (there are 44 different visas available). The most popular work visas in Australia are the:
- Skilled independent visa (subclass 189)
- Skilled regional visa (subclass 887)
- Skilled nominated visa (subclass 190)
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (Subclass 187)
- Global talent visa (subclass 858)
- Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 124)
All of these visas allow successful applicants to move to Australia and remain permanently. The eligibility and suitability vary by visa class. In the case of the skilled independent visa, applicants need to be under 45 years old and have at least 65 points on the points-based scoring system in order to submit an expression of interest, after which they need to be invited to formally apply. Points are awarded based on the applicant’s qualifications, work skills and experience, language proficiency, and their partner’s skills. To see if you qualify under the points-based route to permanent residency in Australia, complete the Australia Department of Home Affairs points check calculator online.
The processing time for a work to permanent residency visa in Australia ranges depending on the visa type. In the case of a subclass 189 visa, applicants can expect to wait a year and pay a fee of AUD$4,045. The global talent visa takes only around 65 days and costs AUD$4,110.
Gaining Australian Permanent Residency Through Business/Investment
Under this category, the following visa types lead to permanent residency in Australia (this list is not exhaustive):
- Subclass 888: Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent)
- Subclass 893: State or Territory Sponsored Investor visa
- Subclass 891: Investor visa
For those considering the business innovation and investment route (subclass 888), before applying for a permanent visa, applicants must first have held a subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa. The subclass 888 Business Innovation and Investment route allows applicants to own or manage a business in Australia or invest in Australia by applying for a:
- Business Innovation stream – applicants need to have held a 188 visa and have a history of business ownership, have business/personal assets of at least AUD$800,000, and score 65 points on the points-based test.
- Investor Stream (permanent) visa - you must have held a designated investment of AUD$1.5 million for four years
- Significant Investor Stream visa - you must have held a complying investment of AUD$5 million for four years
- Premium Investor Stream visa – you must have held a complying investment of AUD$15 million for the duration of your subclass 188 visa
As such, the business innovation and investment route is a two-stage process requiring applicants to have held their investment for a certain amount of time before applying for a permanent visa.
Australia offers a wide range of visa categories that provide a route to permanent residency. Given the timescales, cost, and complexity of the application process, it is always recommended that you seek advice before committing to a particular visa route. Immigration Solicitors can check which is the most suitable visa given your background and long-term plans, assist you with the application process, ensuring that any potential issues are resolved, all of the necessary documentation and information needed is provided upfront, and any questions raised by the Department of Home Affairs are responded to in a timely manner. We wish you the very best with your new life in Australia.