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Resident Return Visas: What You Need to Know

by Lauren 16/05/2013 17:16:00

The process of moving to Australia can be time consuming and incredibly involved, few Visa Bureau clients intend on making the move permanently as soon as their visas are granted. Many of our clients visit Australia to activate their visas or look for their new homes; others simply have a change of circumstances and wish to delay their move for a while.

If this is the case, it’s likely that you will need a Resident Return Visa to ensure your move to Australia is done on your own timetable.

What is a Resident Return Visa?

A Resident Return Visa (RRV) is a permanent Australian visa which allows the holder to leave and re-enter Australia while maintaining their residency status. It is required for all non-citizen permanent residents of Australia who wish to travel after the first five years of their visa’s validity period.

The two main types of RRV are the 155 Resident Return Visa and the 157 Resident Return Visa. Both are essentially the same in all aspects except their validity period; the 155 is valid for a period of up to five years while the 157 is valid for just three months.

I have a permanent residency visa for Australia, why would I need an RRV?

A common misconception regarding permanent residency visas for Australia is their capacity as an entry visa to Australia.

If you hold a permanent residency visa, you are permitted to live and work in Australia permanently. However, your visa is only valid as an entry visa to Australia for the first five years, after which you’ll need a Resident Return Visa to legally re-enter Australia unless you have taken Australian citizenship.

The conditions of most categories of permanent resident visas for Australia require the holder to activate their visa within 12 months of their police or medical checks (whichever is earliest). As this can feasibly be far in advance of when a visa holder plans to make the move permanently, they will need a Resident Return Visa in addition to their permanent residence visa.

I don’t plan to leave Australia again once I’ve moved, I don’t need an RRV

In order to be eligible for a five-year RRV (subclass 155), the applicant must have remained in Australia for two years within the last five – you can read about other eligibility requirements here.

While you might not intend on leaving Australia once you have made the move, unforeseen circumstances can always arise, inconveniently changing plans. Having a Resident Return Visa as a safeguard against such unforeseen events can offer great peace of mind, even if you don’t intend to use it.

Examples 

Few instances in the migration process are particularly simple and given the lengthy time frames and the myriad of circumstances involved, when a Resident Return Visa is required can be difficult to be sure.

Here are a couple of examples of people who would require an RRV and when they should get one:

Example 1

Richard and June were granted a Skilled Independent 175 visa in August, 2008, meaning it is valid until August, 2013. The couple took a trip to Australia to activate their visa in May, 2009, two months before their Intial Entry Date. After a four week holiday spent looking for new homes, the couple returned to the UK with the intention of moving to Australia shortly after.

However, when Richard was offered a new position in London, they postponed their move to Australia until May, 2013 before their visa runs out in August, 2013.

It is now May of 2013 and Richard and June have just 3 months of their 175 visa left. They are booked to go to Australia in 3 weeks. However when there they will not be able to leave the country after August (e.g. for a visit home) and then return on their 175 visa, as it will have expired.

Richard and June will need to remain in Australia until at least May, 2015, after which time they will be able to apply for a five-year Resident Return Visa which will allow them to leave and re-enter Australia freely.

Should the couple leave Australia before May, 2015, there would need to exceptional circumstances - most likely of a compassionate nature, such as the funeral of a close relative - for them to qualify for a short-term Resident Return Visa and be allowed to legally re-enter Australia.

Example 2

Steven had a Subclass 100 Partner Visa granted in June, 2006. He travelled to Australia to activate his visa in September of that year and stayed until December, 2007. He then returned to the UK to spend more time with his daughter from a previous relationship who had not migrated with him.

During his time back in the UK, Steven enrolled in a part-time university course which took him six years to complete, during which time he did not visit Australia again. Steven intended to return to Australia in April, 2013 but his 100 Visa expired in June, 2012.

In order to re-enter Australia, Steven needed to apply for a Resident Return Visa as his 100 Visa is no longer functional as an entry visa; he was required to explain to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that his daughter and academic studies were compelling enough reasons for his absence over the last five years.

He was granted a Resident Return Visa valid for one year which allowed him to complete his move to Australia in May, 2013.

As we appreciate that the circumstances outlined above are only two individual cases, if they do not apply to you and you would to leave Australia and are unsure of how that might affect your residency status, please do not hesitate to get in touch, either on our contact us form or complete the Resident Return Visa online assessment for a free consultation.


- Lauren Mennie is a migration consultant at the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Migration Council recommends Australian 457 visa price increase

by Dominic 13/05/2013 17:21:00

The Migration Council Australia
says the cost of a 457 visa should
be increased.

The Migration Council of Australia has published a report recommending the cost of a 457 visa - which allows holders to live and work temporarily in Australia - should be increased.

The 457 visa has dominated Australian immigration news of late, with the governing Labor Party claiming abuse of the system - known as 'rorting' - is rife and needs to be clamped down upon.

The 457 visa is intended to allow Australian employers to bring in foreign workers to fill labour gaps if a suitable Australian cannot be found. However, the government and other critics claim these checks are often overlooked or manipulated.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor has said he will introduce legislation to make the program's guidelines tighter, prioritising language skills and ensuring local labour checks are carried out first.

However, workers' unions and opposition politicians have defended the scheme, claiming it is vital to the country's economic growth - particularly in areas such as Western Australia where industrial development rates far exceed those of population growth in the areas.

The argument has steadily grown in intensity and last week Mr O'Connor found himself being forced to retract comments he made that there were tens of thousands of cases of spurious 457 visa holders, admitting that they were not based on solid research.

While the debate looks set to continue through to the federal elections later this year, the Migration Council Australia has published its own opinion on the situation, recommending the cost of a 457 visa be increased.

The council claims the cost should be increased 'to ensure that more businesses look to hire Australian workers where available' while the program itself should be better scrutinised to limit abuse.

Lauren Mennie, migration consultant at the Australian Visa Bureau, said any cost increase of the 457 visa would bring it closer to the cost of other skilled migration visa streams, but without any of the benefits.

"The 457 visa system, for all its faults, allows skills gaps in Australia to be filled where necessary," said Ms Mennie.

"Yet the holder's options for bringing family members with them or long term planning are severely limited compared to other visa streams as the holder's immigration status is dependent on continuous employment.

"Other visas for Australia can take longer to obtain but allow holders to bring dependent family members with them and remain in Australia on a permanent basis.

"Increasing the cost of the 457 visa should encourage more people to consider other means of moving to Australia."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Australia and New Zealand to jointly manage panel doctors

by Dominic 08/05/2013 13:06:00

 

New Zealand and Australia will
jointly manage panel doctors for
visa applicants.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have agreed to jointly manage the team of overseas doctors used to assess New Zealand and Australian visa applicants' health.

As part of a visa application for both Australia and New Zealand, applicants are typically required to meet certain health criteria to ensure they do not pose a significant risk to either country's healthcare systems.

In order to meet these criteria, applicants are required to undertake a medical exam with a 'panel doctor' - a doctor approved by either INZ or DIAC.

However, now the list of doctors will be greatly expanded as panel doctors for either country will be jointly managed, meaning they can approve patients applying to move to Australia or New Zealand.

A joint statement issued INZ head Nigel Bickle and DIAC secretary Martin Bowles said the move was intended to improve customer service and communication between the two countries.

It is also hoped better levels of participation between the two countries will help to detect and limit the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said the move should mean visa applicants for either country will have greater access to panel doctors.

"Getting an appointment with a panel-certified doctor can be a tricky part of the application process, given the relatively small number of them," said Ms Cotton.

"Combining both Australia and New Zealand's resources however should help to expedite the process and ensure more visa applicants progress through their applications quicker."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau and the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.