When a person is granted a permanent visa, they and included family members, can remain in Australia indefinitely. However, the permanent visa is only granted with a 5 year ‘travel facility’ that allows for travel into and out of Australia. This travel facility is called the ‘Resident Return Visa’ (RRV).
If the person does not become an Australian citizen, they must renew their RRV every 5 years if they need to travel.
The requirements for a RRV can differ depending on how much time a person has spent out of Australia.
- If they have spent time in Australia for a total period of at least 2 years in the last 5 years, they will meet the residence requirement and will obtain a RRV for a further 5 years.
- If they have NOT spent at least 2 of the last 5 years in Australia, they will need to provide evidence to show substantial business, employment, personal or cultural ties to Australia to be granted another RRV. If the Department of Home Affairs is satisfied that these substantial ties exist, a new RRV for a 12 month period, only, will be granted.
- If they have spent more than 5 years continuously outside of Australia since being granted a permanent visa – they will need to show substantial ties to Australia as above, but also show compelling and compassionate reasons for why they spent that time outside of Australia. What is deemed ‘compelling’ by the Department is not defined and is assessed on a case by case basis.
Not being resident in Australia as a permanent visa holder, particularly over extended periods of time, can affect a person’s eligibility to renew a RRV.
If you or one of your employees is a permanent visa holder and is required to depart Australia for an extended period, we recommend you contact us to discuss any potential visa implications.
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