A few years ago, thousands flocked to Australia to take up well-paid jobs in the mining, and oil and gas sectors. These thriving industries helped support the local economy, but the recent downturn has led to job insecurity and redundancies.
The team here at Visa Solutions Australia has taken several calls from people on permanent residency status, looking to go back to their birth country where they believe there are more job opportunities.
Proposed changes announced in the recent Federal Budget have also prompted people to think more carefully about their future in Australia.
Currently, applicants for citizenship need to be resident in Australia for four years, but they only need to be a permanent resident for one year. Under the proposed change, applicants need to have been permanent residents for at least four years.
This change will affect those who entered Australia on temporary work or humanitarian visas. These people will no longer be able to count their time as temporary residents toward the residence requirement for citizenship. If you are considering leaving the country, we’ve come up with some advice which you may find helpful:
Resident Return visa
Anyone on a Permanent Residency Visa can live, work and study without restrictions, but it is only granted for a five-year period which means travel restrictions are imposed as a condition of the visa.
If you want to return to Australia after that five-year period, you will need to be granted a Resident Return visa. In general, if a permanent resident has spent a total of two years in the last five in Australia as a permanent resident they will be given this visa for five years.
If you have not spent two years in this country then you may only receive a Resident Return visa for between three months to one year. You must demonstrate that you have business, cultural or personal ties or demonstrate that you left Australia on compassionate grounds or have compelling reasons.
This Resident Return visa should be obtained at least three months before your planned departure from Australia.
If you have reached citizenship status, you can come and go to Australia as often as you like and there are no restrictions on re-entering the country.
An Australian passport shows you have this citizenship status and have taken part in an official citizenship ceremony. If you travel outside Australia before your ceremony, you will be travelling as a permanent resident on your current overseas passport.
If you have worked and earned super while in Australia on a temporary visa, you can apply for your super funds to be paid to you after you leave. It is advisable to check with your employer that they have paid your full entitlement of super. The amount owing to you is called the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment and will be managed by the tax office. It is your money and you are entitled to take it with you by filling in an online form through the Australian Taxation Office.
If you are on a 457 visa and you leave this country you can also claim any tax refund which may be owing to you. Usually you lodge a tax return on the 30th June, but if you decide to leave the country permanently you can lodge an early tax return with the tax office.
For more information on both superannuation and tax returns you can go to the ATO website.
Statistics show that many people announce they are leaving for good, but then return, usually within the following year. The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that as many as 80% of people who had planned to leave permanently did not stay overseas for 12 months or more. The highest proportion of those returning were aged 30 to 39 and most left Australia in the first quarter of the year.
The team here at Visa Solutions Australia are experts in migration and visa requirements. If you’d like some advice about the implications of leaving Australia why not give us a call today?