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Permanent resident

Entitlements

An Australian permanent resident and an Australian citizen are not the same.

As a permanent resident of Australia, you generally can:

  • remain in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Australia’s national health scheme, Medicare
  • apply for bank loans to buy property
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible
  • travel to and from Australia for as long as your travel facility permits.  Please see Overseas travel as a permanent resident.
  • attend free English language classes provided by the Adult Migrant English Program
  • work in New Zealand

You may also qualify for other government benefits and services. If you hold a permanent visa, but you are not residing in Australia, your eligibility for the above may be impacted. Contact the relevant government departments or authorities to confirm your rights and obligations.

Unlike Australian citizens, a permanent resident generally cannot:

  • have an Australian passport
  • vote in Australian Government elections unless you enrolled (as a British subject) before 26 January 1984
  • access student loans
  • join the Australian Defence Force
  • obtain ongoing work in the Australian Government
  • return to Australia from overseas without a valid travel facility (you do not have automatic right of entry to Australia). See Overseas travel as a permanent resident.