Resident Return Visas (RRV) enables permanent residents to maintain their permanent residence visa status upon expiry of their current permanent residence visa.
To retain eligibility for their permanent residence, permanent residents must continue to satisfy either physical presence or concessional substantial ties requirements. Having achieved permanent residence, professional advice including strategic planning is essential to maintain permanent residence status. Strategic Migration can provide you with an assessment of your options.
Resident Return Visas (RRVs) allow permanent residents of Australia to re-enter as often as they wish during the validity of the visa. RRVs may be issued with five years’ or three months’ validity.
The purpose of RRVs is to facilitate the re-entry into Australia of non-citizen permanent residents; and to ensure that only those people who have a genuine commitment to residing in Australia, or who are contributing to Australia’s well-being, retain the right to return to Australia and remain permanently.
To be eligible for a five year RRV, applicants must have spent two years out of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident.
There are limited circumstances where an applicant for a RRV who has not spent two in the last five years in Australia, can still apply for a RRV with one year’s validity. In these circumstances, the applicant must show the following:
- they have a business, employment, personal or cultural tie in Australia
- the link(s) must be substantial, and
- the link(s) must of benefit to Australia.
Business activity implies ongoing, regular activity that is commercial in nature, has an intention to make a profit and has a system of record keeping and management that substantiates the business activity claimed.
Immigration policy refers to an applicant who is involved in the operations of an Australian business (whether in Australia or overseas), or the Australian branch of an international business has business ties with Australia.
All aspects of business activity may constitute business ties to Australia, such as:
- business management;
- research and development;
- joint venture activities;
- marketing and sales;
- setting up a new business;
- establishing suppliers and distribution networks.
- In assessing whether a business tie is a substantial tie with Australia, it is relevant to consider:
- whether the business employs or will employ Australian citizens or permanent residents other than you, the applicant;
- whether it generates or will generate revenue in or for Australia;
- the size of the business; or
- the proportion of the business involving ties to Australia and the extent of any business ties the applicant has with any other country.
If an applicant has substantial, actively managed investments in Australia they may meet the business tie criterion.
Benefit to Australia may be current or potential, and tangible or intangible.
Evidence of a substantial business tie may also include, but is not limited to:
- evidence of registration of the company/business name;
- the Australian company number;
- partnership / joint venture agreements;
- import / export licences;
- tax returns or annual reports; and
- advertising material.
An applicant who is currently employed in Australia, or who has accepted a formal offer of employment in Australia, has an employment tie with Australia. An applicant employed outside Australia may also be considered to have employment ties with Australia if employed by an organisation such as:
- an Australian owned organisation (eg a company, university, college, religious organisation, etc);
- a Commonwealth, State, Territory or Local Government organisation (including a Government Business Enterprise or a Statutory Authority/agency);
- an international organisation to which the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 applies within the meaning of subsection 3(1) of that Act;
- the Australian office of a multinational company or a foreign owned company; or
- an Australian community/charity organisation or the Australian office of an international charity organisation.
A relevant consideration is whether the applicant is employed in a permanent, temporary or contract capacity, and an agreed wage or salary is paid to undertake the work. Casual work would not normally be considered to be a substantial tie.
An applicant’s substantial employment tie may be of benefit to Australia if the applicant:
- is employed, or has accepted employment, in Australia;
- is employed outside Australia by an organisation; or
- is employed outside Australia by an organisation involved in activities such as:
- generation of income for Australia;
- promotion of Australian exports;
- enhancing Australia’s international reputation/goodwill;
- using Australian technology offshore; or
- introducing new technology into Australia; and
- evidence to support a claim of employment ties may include:
- recent official documents such as group certificates;
- letters from the employer;
- employee identification/security passes.
Examples of personal ties include but are not limited to:
- long term residence in Australia prior to the last five years, particularly, if the applicant has spent their formative years in Australia, or studied or been employed in Australia;
- ownership of a home and/or other personal assets in Australia;
- the applicant has close family members, or close friends in the nature of family, who are permanent residents or citizens and who reside in Australia; or
- the applicant is travelling or residing overseas with an Australian citizen spouse and/or children who may suffer hardship if the applicant was not granted an RRV.
Relevant considerations in assessing whether a personal tie is substantial are whether an applicant regards Australia as home and whether the applicant has stronger ties of a similar nature in any other country. It is recognised that a person may have substantial ties to more than one country.
Therefore, the applicant’s physical and emotional ties with Australia should be weighed against ties in any other country (for example; place of residence, house, schooling of children, residence of spouse, citizenship of immediate family, family and friend ties and general identification).
The applicant’s personal, physical and emotional ties to Australia should outweigh the applicant’s ties to any other country.
Substantial personal ties may be of benefit to Australia in the sense that the applicant is a participating member of the Australian community and economy, or that they are likely to become a participating member of the Australian community and economy in the future, and that their ties enrich the lives of individual Australian residents and citizens.
It is also relevant to consider the potential hardship to the applicant’s Australian citizen family unit members (who can travel to and from Australia at will), or to any other Australian citizens with whom the applicant has close ties, if the applicant is not granted a RRV.
An applicant involved in any of a range of intellectual, artistic, sporting or religious pursuits which are not strictly of a business or employment nature may also have a cultural tie with Australia.
A substantial cultural tie may exist if the applicant’s cultural pursuits are conducted at a professional level or with a degree of public recognition. Some examples of people who may have substantial cultural ties include, but are not limited to:
- a person who is accepted as a member of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community who is involved in traditional activities;
- people involved in the Arts at a professional level (eg an actor in a theatre company, an opera singer in an Australian company, a musician in a band or orchestra or a published author);
- members of religious communities in Australia; or
- sports people who are members of Australian sporting associations.
Evidence to support a claim of cultural ties may include:
- evidence of membership of cultural associations;
- newspaper articles;
- programs from concerts, etc.
In our professional experience, concessional RRV applications lodged in Australia whilst an applicant is in Australia seem to have better prospects of success than for those lodged outside Australia. Processing time, with lodgment in Australia, for a concessional RRV application may be up to 10 working days. However, that does not mean an application lodged offshore cannot readily succeed if it is well prepared and managed.