Rights of Permanent Residents

A ‘permanent resident’ (PR) is a person who has entered Australia and holds a permanent visa permitting him/her to remain in Australia indefinitely.
Generally a permanent visa will contain the words ‘permanent visa permitting the holder to travel to and enter Australia for a period of fiver years from the date of grant’. Therefore, even though it is a permanent visa it expires after 5 years. Thus, if a permanent visa holder intends to leave or re-enter Australia after the 5 years period he/she will need to become an Australian citizen or renew the permanent visa or apply for a resident return visa.

Work Rights:

PR visa holder are generally free to work for any employer in any occupation for unlimited hours. In regards to government jobs a PR visa holder can work for only the State and Local Governments, not for the Federal Government.
Permanent residents are subject to the same industrial laws as Australian citizens. They can join trade unions, claim workers compensation and take action if they believe they are being discriminated against and are subject to the same taxation and superannuation requirements as Australian citizens.

Social Security Benefits:

PR visa holders have the same right to claim social security benefits as Australian citizens. However, many benefits have a waiting periods for which the permanent resident must have been a permanent resident for.
The waiting periods does not apply for Family Payment and Medicare claims.

Waiting Period for Newly arrived Permanent Residents:

There is a 2 year waiting period (104 weeks) for social security claims. In other words, people who arrive in Australia on a permanent visa or who are granted a permanent residence in Australia generally have to wait 2 years before they can claim social security payments.
However, people who hold a permanent visa of one of the following types are exempt from the ‘newly arrived residents waiting period’:

  • Spouse visa – subclass 100 or 801
  • Interdependency visa – subclass 110 or 814
  • Close Ties visa – subclass 832

The holders of the above visa subclasses are entitled to receive social security payments from the date they are granted permanent residence.
Some other payments, such as pensions, do not have a newly arrived resident’s waiting period, but have a ‘qualifying residence’ requirements.
The Age Pension and Disability Support Pension have qualifying residence periods of 10 years. The Parenting Payment and Widow Allowance have qualifying residence periods of 2 years.

Age Pension:

To qualify for an Age Pension the permanent resident is generally required to have lived in Australia for at least 10 years. This applies to citizens as well as permanent residents.
The waiting periods do not apply to people who arrived under the Refugee and Humanitarian Program or were granted a Permanent Protection Visa in Australia.
More details will be available soon on:

  • Parenting Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Special Benefit
  • Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance
  • Family Tax Benefit
  • Carer Payment
  • English language education
  • Medicare and Health Care card eligibility
  • Education
  • Sponsorship
  • Australian citizenship
  • Voting and Jury Service

“Choosing the right migration consultant is difficult. I consulted with many Migration Agents, but Opal Consulting impressed me a lot. I applied for a visa for my husband, which was rejected. After some time my friends suggested that I try “Opal Consulting”. I was amazed with their professionalism and the way they arranged my documents. They kept me up to date throughout the whole process. We got the visa after 3 months. Yeah! Finally I was so happy to see my husband after 3 years and with hard struggle.”

Regina Shrestha
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