Permanent Resident vs Citizen in Australia


Permanent residency and citizenship in Australia, while similar, are distinct statuses with different rights and responsibilities.


What is a Permanent Resident?


A Permanent Resident in Australia is someone who holds a permanent visa.

Examples of permanent visas are:

Obtaining permanent residency is essential for migrants aiming for long-term residency in Australia, as it provides the holder with the right to live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely.

Before obtaining a permanent visa, individuals often start with a provisional visa, which serves as a temporary pathway towards permanent residency.

Permanent residents enjoy benefits, such as access to Medicare, Australia’s public healthcare system, and the ability to sponsor relatives for permanent residency.

However, there are certain restrictions; for example, permanent residents cannot vote in federal and State/Territory elections, and their ability to work in public service or defence jobs is limited.


Example: Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa Pathway


The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (Subclass 494) is a provisional visa designed for skilled workers who are nominated by an employer in regional Australia.

This visa is part of Australia’s effort to enhance the economic development of its regional areas by attracting skilled workers where they are most needed.

The Subclass 494 visa allows individuals to live, work, and study in a designated regional area of Australia for up to 5 years.

The Subclass 494 visa provides a pathway to permanent residency through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191).


Pathway to Citizenship


Transitioning from a Permanent Resident to an Australian Citizen is a significant milestone.

Citizenship confers the full rights and responsibilities of being part of the Australian community, including the right to vote, eligibility for a passport, and the security of permanent residency without the need to renew visas.

To become a citizen, permanent residents must meet residency requirements, demonstrating their commitment to Australia and its values.

Candidates for Australian Citizenship must live in Australia for a specific period, have a basic English language knowledge, and understand Australian society, values, and history, typically assessed through a citizenship test or interview.

After gaining permanent residency, individuals generally need to wait for a specific amount of time before they can apply for Australian citizenship.

Read more about this here.


Permanent Resident vs Citizen: Key Considerations


Visa Journey

Most migrants undergo a staged process, from holding temporary visas, moving to permanent residency, and ultimately, to citizenship.


Rights & Responsibilities

While permanent residents have a secure status in Australia, becoming a citizen provides additional rights such as voting, holding an Australian passport, employment opportunities within the public service and the defence force, and the ability to seek consular assistance while overseas.


Professional Guidance

We specialise in migration and citizenship services, providing expert advice on skilled, family, and business visa applications, as well as support for visa rejections and cancellations.


Contact Us


Understanding the distinction between a Permanent Resident vs a Citizen is essential for anyone looking to build a life in Australia.

Please note: Our migration and citizenship consultations are provided on a fee basis.

Related Blog – Applicant’s Australian Citizenship denied due to IVO & Domestic Violence convictions

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