How To Become an Australian Permanent Resident (Migrant)

Australian migrants are permanent residents of Australia that hold migrant or permanent resident visas and may live and work in Australia indefinitely. While migrants are not citizens, they do have the option to become citizens after meeting the residency requirement. There are several ways to immigrate to Australia—through family, employment, refugee or humanitarian status.

Immigration Australia
Immigration Australia

Steps to Australian Permanent Residency

Jump to : Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5

Step 1

Find the right visa for you

Find the right visa for you

There are more than 40 Australian Migrant visas which allow you to work and live in Australia permanently. Here’s a quick look at some popular migrant visa categories:

Family-Based Permanent Residency

If you have an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident family member, you may be eligible to immigrate to Australia. Migrant visas are available for:

Work-Based Permanent Residency

There are numerous paths to Australian permanent residency through the worker category. The migrant worker categories are:

  • Employer Sponsored Workers. When an Australian employer sponsors a foreign national work in Australia.
  • General Skilled Migration. For people that are not sponsored by Australian employers but possess a skill valued in Australia.
  • Skill Select. For workers possessing certain skills that Australia is in need of.
  • Doctors and Nurses. Permanent residency is available to doctors and nurses on a need-only basis.

New Zealand Visa

New Zealanders do have the option to live and work permanently in Australia without a permanent resident visa. Citizens of New Zealand are granted a temporary SCV visa which allows them to do so, but does not grant them the same rights as an Australia permanent resident or citizen. For example, an SCV visa does not allow you to vote; access student loans; join the Australian Defence Force; or obtain ongoing work for the Australian government. However, New Zealanders do have the option to apply for an Australian permanent resident visas as well as the option to become Australian citizens.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has a great tool to help you find which one is right for you. Click here to visit their Visa Finder page.

Step 2

Check if you meet the visa requirements

Check if you meet the visa requirements

Once you have found the right visa, look over the requirements to apply. Migration can be time consuming and expensive, so you don’t want to apply for a benefit you’re not eligible for.

The DIBP website outlines the eligibility requirements for all its or you can find more information about select migrant categories by clicking the links in Step 1. Visas may require you to have a sponsor, a citizenship relative, a certain amount of money to invest in business, or certain work skills.

Step 3

Apply for an Australian Migrant Visa

Apply for an Australian Migrant Visa

After you’ve found the right visa and have checked you meet all the eligibility requirements, you can apply for it. Applications are available for download or to apply online at the DIBP website.

Most applications require you to submit supporting documents and an application fee. Make sure your entire application is complete before you send it in.

Step 4

Wait for a decision

Wait for a decision

Depending on the visa you apply for and how backed up DIBP is in processing applications, you may have to wait several weeks or several months for a decision to be made on your application.

Step 5

Get your visa!

Get your visa!

Once your application is approved, you will receive your migrant visa and can live and work permanently in Australia. In some cases, you may soon be eligible for citizenship.

Australian migrant visas are issued in increments of five years, subject to renewal. As long as your visa is valid, you may enter and leave Australia freely. Other benefits of permanent residency include:

  • Right to work
  • Right to apply for citizenship
  • Right to public education
  • Right to sponsor relatives to immigrate to Australia
  • Right to travel freely between Australia and New Zealand without a visa

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