Resident Return visa – Why it’s important to live in Australia for 2 years once you are a permanent resident

Resident return visa – common issue

I got so many messages this month from desperate people wanting to apply for a resident return visa (subclass 155 and 157 ) or as it’s commonly known “RRV”.  They all seem to share a common issue which was not living in Australia for a minimum of 2 years as permanent residents,  They had a range of reasons why they couldn’t live in Australia.

You apply for a resident return visa after you’ve initially held your first migration visa. If you are a permanent resident, you can go on living in Australia as a permanent resident on consecutive resident return visa for many years.  If you never choose to become an Australian citizen that is perfectly fine.

There was a variety of reasons why a person couldn’t live in Australia. From health issues, in their family, to jobs, to getting married.  All valid reasons.  But when dealing with Immigration, the fact is if you don’t live in Australia for 2 years they want to you to know why and see proof that you have strong ties to Australia.

Residency of 2 years or show strong ties

To show you are serious about living in Australia you must demonstrate that you have strong ties to the country.  If you don’t have these ties but just your words that this time you are definitely going to live in Australia Immigration will not be interested in granting you a resident return visa.

Strong ties include having a job or evidence of an employment offer in Australia, a mortgage/property in Australia.  It can include having family members in Australia who are citizens or permanent residents, such as a spouse, children.  It must be close family ties.  If you have children in Australia, their lives are going to be significantly impacted if Immigration doesn’t give you a resident return visa.  Your second cousin by marriage who lives in Darwin, however, will probably get by if you don’t live in Australia anymore.

If you think about it perhaps Immigration has cause to be strict.  You applied for your initial migration visa. It was expensive, time-consuming and quite an application process to go through.  You succeeded, they granted you the visa with the full expectation that in the 5 years of your migration visa, you would be living in Australia.  Now you are to applying for a resident return visa without meeting the minimum residency requirement.  Furthermore, you have no real ties to Australia except a promise that this time you will live in Australia in the future.

Now I might sound harsh particularly for those people who are in this situation described above.  My article here is really for new migrants or people in the process of applying for their first migration visa.  It’s actually important to live in Australia after you get your first migration visa.  You must be familiar with what the resident return visa application involves.  Prepare early for applying for a resident return visa, When the time comes you will give yourself the best chance of success.

Requirements and Application process

The Immigration website enables online applications for the resident return visa.  If you meet the residency requirement, the visa processing time could be a matter of days.   If you have to prove your strong ties to Australia the processing time may be several weeks.



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Australian lawyer and visa expert Mege Dalton helps people navigate the Australian visa system with confidence.

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