Resident return visa – common issues
I’ve received so many messages over the years from desperate people wanting to apply for a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 and 157 ). They share a common issue that they had not lived in Australia for a minimum of 2 years as permanent residents, They had a range of reasons why they couldn’t live in Australia and had to return to their country of origin.
Most applicants for an RRV have initially hold their first permanent residence visa. When the validity of this visa is going to expire, they must renew this residency status. An application for an RRV once approved by Immigration effectively renews the permanent residence status.
When you are a permanent resident, you can go on living in Australia as a permanent resident for many years using consecutive RRVs. 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 even though they have permanent residence. There may be health issues of parents to deal with, changing job commitments, or getting married for example. All valid reasons, that’s life.
However, 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 and had compelling reasons to live outside of Australia whilst holding permanent residency status. They won’t just accept your word, these reasons and strong ties will need to proven with evidence.
Residency of 2 years or show strong ties
You must demonstrate that you have strong ties to the country show you are serious about living in Australia. If you don’t have these strong 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.
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
Applications for a Resident Return Visa are lodged online through the Department of Home Affairs, ImmiAccount system. 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 to months.
Get in touch if you want to learn how to successfully apply for an Australia visa.