This visa is for people who have permanent residency of Australia (but NOT citizenship) or for people who are FORMER Australian citizens to re-enter Australia from time overseas. Its valid for 5 year periods and is extendable indefinitely.
Requirements (1 of the following 4):
- You must have spent at least 2 of the last 5 years in Australia as a Australian Permanent Resident
- You must show that you have substantial ties of benefit to Australia. These ties can be business, cultural, employment or personal. Additionally if you've been away for more than 5 years consecutively you will be required to show compelling resaons for your absence. Such reasons include personal / family circumstances, employment requirements, etc. We recommend always showing compelling reasons for absence to support your case.
- You must be the immediate family member (spouse or dependant child / relative ) of a Resident Return Visa Holder.
If you have permanent residency but then leave Australia for an extended period without qualifying for Australian citizenship, your permanent residency may expire and you may have to restart your residency process from the beginning.
It is effectively a control measure to stop people coming to Australia, getting permanent residency, then leaving. It is alleged that some people who have qualified for PR spend most of their productive years abroad before returning to be a burden on the country by utilising the benefits and free healthcare.
It is a similar concept to how Australian permanent residents and Citizens who have spent significant periods of time out of the country have to reapply for Medicare. In this reapplication they must show that they intend to settle permanently in Australia (to stop people living overseas but coming back just when they require free medical treatment).
Its strongly recommended to apply for this Resident Return Visa subclass 155 before you leave Australia. But the best thing to do is live in Australia till you get your citizenship and then you can always come back.