There’s a lot to love about living in Australia. The country boasts beautiful landscapes, multicultural cities, and one of the best education systems in the world. Many people who hold an Australian work visa want to stay in Australia for the long run and decide to apply to become a permanent resident.

In this guide, we’ll take a look into what the process entails. By the end you’ll have all the information and online resources you need to apply for a permanent resident visa in Australia:

What does it mean to be a permanent resident in Australia?

With an Australian permanent resident visa, you can remain in the country indefinitely. If you secure a permanent resident visa you’ll also be able to:

  • Work and study in Australia
  • Receive healthcare benefits
  • Sponsor relatives for their permanent resident visas
  • Apply for citizenship

Keep in mind that until you become a citizen, you cannot:

  • Hold an Australian passport
  • Vote in Australian elections
  • Access student loan benefits

How to apply

There are multiple ways to apply for a permanent resident visa in Australia. It will depend on how and why you are eligible. Most commonly, people commonly apply through a family, work, or business stream.

A family-stream permanent resident visa

A family member can sponsor you for a visa. You can do this if you are the partner, child, parent or dependent of an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident. You can also be sponsored for a permanent resident visa if you need to move to Australia to care for a family member long term. You can apply from both inside and outside Australia for this type of visa.

To learn about how to apply through the family stream and all the different visas available, check out this questionnaire on the Government of Australia website.

A work-stream permanent resident visa

You can be sponsored by an Australian employer for a permanent resident visa. Likewise, you might also be able to apply through a skilled workers program. You will qualify for this if you have skills the country views as valuable – such as chemistry, agricultural engineering, or carpentry. The skilled occupation list outlines all the jobs in Australia that are in high-demand.

Keep in mind that for some work-stream visas, you must be nominated by an employer or Australian government agency to apply.

Discover the different work-stream permanent resident visa options on the Government of Australia website.

A business or investment permanent resident visa

If you own or manage a business in Australia, or invest in the country, you can apply for a permanent resident visa. This will allow you to live and work in Australia indefinitely.

People are also eligible to apply for permanent resident visas in Australia for a range of different reasons. For example, if you wish to retire or are a former resident of the country. You may also apply if you have a “distinguished talent” – which means you have made an outstanding achievement in a certain field – or are a refugee. For each visa, you’ll also have to check if you qualify. Every situation is different and you can explore every visa option on the Australian Government website.

Fees and processing times

It isn’t cheap to apply for a permanent resident visa in Australia. Expect to pay* $2,450 AUD for an investor visa, $7,715 AUD for a partner visa, and up to $47,755 AUD for some parent visas.

Processing times also range. Some permanent resident visas take a few months, while other can take more than two years to be granted. This makes it extremely important to do your research and plan ahead.

*Please note these fees are correct at the time of writing. Please consult the government website for up-to-date information.

Many permanent resident visas always require you take an English language test, so you’ll have to study for this in advance. Our secure, computer-based English exam PTE Academic is accepted by the Australian government for all visa categories – including business and investment permanent resident visas. And the good news? Once you’ve written the test, you get the results within 48 hours.

Learn more about PTE Academic for Australian visas

How have visas been affected by the pandemic?

At the moment, travel to Australia is very restricted. Only people who are exempt can travel there – for example, of you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident you will be able to enter the country.

The country is prioritizing visa applications for people who are exempt from travel restrictions. However, the government also says some services might be delayed – like biometrics and medical appointments.

You can learn more about applying for an Australia visa during the pandemic here.

Plan ahead

Applying for a permanent visa anywhere can be a long (and sometimes complicated) process. So, it really does pay to do you research ahead of time. You’ll need to save up, prepare your application, and plan your move ahead with lots of time to spare.

Want to learn more about living, working, and studying in Australia? Check out all the other articles on our blog.


We are not immigration agents. For all up-to-date information about visa rules and regulations, see the official guidelines on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Share Article:

For the ultimate preparation!