Monday, April 25, 2011

Australian Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Last Friday, after "illegally" struggling in Australia for more than one year, I was granted permanent residency visa. With a lot of congratulations coming from different people, a common question they ask is 'what is Australian Permanent Residency'? This question even comes from many Aussies which I thought the answer should be crystal clear for them. Now I realized the one who knows it well can only be those people who had/have experience to deal with the evil DIAC ( Department of Immigration and Citizenship).

Anyway, in this post, I will shortly introduce what is Australian Permanent Residency and how does it work for migrating people like me.

As everyone knows, generally there are only a few countries in the world publicly welcome immigration, Australia, Canada, New Zealand to name a few. Most of these countries share the same features like highly developed but low population density. In order to keep these contries' development, more on economical perspective, they need immigrates to fill the holes for skills shortage. The occupations varied from country to country depending on what kind of main industry the country runs. Let's go back to Australia again, the immigration policy has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Start from 2000, as the strong need from Australia government, it was extremely easy for an overseas student to get a permanent residency after studying in Australia for a tertiary degree. Under that policy, many many students came to Australia and settled since then. Meanwhile, they acted as an advertisement or agent, and attracted more crowds keeping coming. Consequently, a lot of changes of the migration policy had been put on. From 2007, a two-year minimum study period and IETLS 4*7 was started to be effective. Though pretty hard, comparing to the huge base numbers of students, still too many are eligible to stay in Australia after graduation. Started from 2008, more and more changes put on migration law made most of the graduates lost the opportunity to apply for PR, and had to return to their own country after spending thousands of thousands dollars here.

Currently, migration law is still under discussion, and another dramatic overhaul is being in progress and is due to release on Jul 1, 2011. Australia is no longer a country that can be easily migrated.

So, after you got PR, what benefits you can get out of it?

  • You are eligible to staying in Australia indefinitely
  • You can work, study, or nearly do whatever you want in Australia
  • You are free to leave Australia and back to Australia as many times as you want
  • You have the right to apply Medicare
  • You can also apply for centrelink after two years
  • You can freely go to New Zealand
Comparing the citizenship, the only a few disadvantages are
  • You have to renew your PR visa every five years, and within this period time, you have to stay at least 2 years to show you are genuinely would like to be a resident in Australia
  • You have no political right in Australia, and cannot vote (which I guess most people would not care)
  • You cannot apply for Australian passport, and if you have to use your original passport to apply any third-country visa (Except New Zealand) 
I would say, the most benefit to apply for a citizenship is you get an Australian passport which allows you to enter most of the countries in the world without worring about visa. However, if your original country doesn't allow dual citizenship (e.g. China), then the moment you join Australia, you lost your original country's citizenship. This may be a big problem, if you wish to go back to your original country after 20 years or would like to work there, and will also be a problem for your property or deposits back in your own country. That's why, there are many people working in Australia holding a PR visa not applying for the citizenship.


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