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Australian permanent residents are residents of Australia who hold permanent residency visas but are not citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Holders of permanent residency visas may remain in Australia indefinitely. A 5-year initial visa, which corresponds to the underlying migration scheme, is granted alongside the permanent residency. Until the initial visa expires, the visa holder may leave and re-enter Australia freely. A notable feature of the permanent residency visa is that, even after the initial visa expires, the holder is entitled to stay in Australia indefinitely without breaching immigration regulations.

After the initial visa expires, if the holder wishes to continue to travel to and from Australia as a permanent resident, they must obtain a Resident Return Visa (RRV). However those who live for too long outside Australia may lose their permanent resident status.

Permanent residency may be revoked at the discretion of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. However this does not normally happen other than in cases of criminal misconduct.

Most permanent residents are eligible to become citizens after a waiting period. When the waiting period is complete, the process of sitting the citizenship test and attending the ceremony will add an additional three to twelve months.

Permanent residents enjoy many of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to free or subsidised legal and health services and education. They do not have the right to vote in federal elections, but some states allow permanent residents from Commonwealth of Nations countries to vote in State and local government elections. Some citizens of Commonwealth of Nations countries who were enrolled to vote on 25 January 1984 are entitled to retain voting rights.

The points test is a mechanism used to help select skilled migrants who offer the best in terms of economic benefit to Australia. The points test creates a selection process that is transparent and objective, awarding points to the skills and attributes considered tobe in need in Australia. The 1 July 2011 points test is designed to select the best and brightest skilled migrants who will make the optimum economic contribution to Australia. It does not give undue weight to any one factor and recognises a broader range of skills and attributes, focussing on:


·                     better English levels

·                     more extensive skilled employment

·                     higher level qualifications obtained in Australia and overseas

·                     better targeted age ranges


Points will no longer be awarded for specific occupations, although all applicants must still nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and have their skills assessed in their nominated occupation.

The pass mark is the total amount of points needed to be eligible for grant of a visa and will be set at 65 points. A table summarising the points awarded can be found at the end of this fact sheet. The points test only applies to applicants for the following visas:


·                     Subclass 475 Skilled – Regional Sponsored

·                     Subclass 487 Skilled Regional Sponsored

·                     Subclass 175 Skilled Independent

·                     Subclass 885 Skilled Independent

·                     Subclass 176 Skilled Sponsored

·                     Subclass 886 Skilled Sponsored


Information about eligibility requirements

To apply for one of the above visas, applicants need to satisfy the following threshold requirements:

·                     be under 50 years of age at the time of applying for a visa.

·                     meet the threshold English language requirement of competent English.

·                     nominate and hold a skilled assessment for an occupation on the Skilled     Occupation List at the time of lodging their application.

·                     provide evidence of recent skilled employment in a skilled occupation or have recently completed the Australian Study requirement.


Overview of the points test
















English language * or equivalent standard in
a specified test)

Competent English – IELTS 6*


Proficient English – IELTS 7*


Superior English – IELTS 8*


Australian or overseas skilled employment in
nominated occupation or a closely related occupation undertaken in the
past 10 years 

Note: Maximum points that can be awarded for any combination of
Australian or overseas skilled employment is 20 points

One year in Australia


Three years in Australia


Five years in Australia


Eight years in Australia


Three years overseas


Five years overseas


Eight years overseas


Qualifications (Australian or recognised

Australian Diploma or trade qualification or other qualification
recognised by a relevant Assessing Authority


At least a Bachelor degree




Australian study requirement

Minimum two years full-time (Australian study requirement)


Study in a regional area

Must meet the Australian Study Requirement while studying in a
regional area


Professional Year

Completion of a recognised Professional Year


Credentialed Community language

NAATI accreditation


Partner skills

Primary applicants partner meets threshold requirements for skilled
migration visa


Nomination by state/territory government (subclass 176
or 886 visa)

Nomination by a state or territory government under a state
migration plan


Designated area sponsorship or nominated by
state/territory government (subclass 475 or 487 visa)

Sponsorship by an eligible relative living in a designated area or
nomination by a state or territory government under a state migration




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