How to stay indefinitely in Australia
A five year initial visa, which corresponds to the underlying migration programme, is granted alongside the permanent residency. Until the initial visa expires, the visa holder may leave and re-enter Australia freely. A notable feature of the permanent residency visa is that, even after the initial visa expires, the holder is entitled to stay in Australia indefinitely without breaching immigration regulations.
Permanent residency may be revoked at the discretion of the responsible Minister, for example in cases of criminal misconduct.
The benefits of permanent residency
Permanent residents enjoy many of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to free or subsidised legal and health services.
They do not have the right to vote in federal or state/territory elections, unless they were registered to vote prior to 1984, but may vote in some local government elections.
Permanent residents are not entitled to an Australian passport.
Most permanent residents are eligible to become citizens after a waiting period. When the waiting period is complete, the process of taking the citizenship test and attending the ceremony will add an additional three to twelve months.