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The main purpose of Resident Return Visa (RRV) arrangements is to allow people who are permanent residents of Australia to travel internationally and return to Australia as permanent residents. In addition, these arrangements allow certain people who have previously been permanent residents or citizens of Australia to regain their status as permanent residents. 

The Department’s policy position is that a former Australian permanent resident can include any person who was considered a permanent resident under migration arrangements in place at that time. This means that people who entered Australia as New Zealand citizens before 1 September 1994 may be considered a former permanent resident. 

To be eligible for an RRV, a former Australian permanent resident must meet two additional requirements:

1. Substantial ties of benefit to Australia. 

You must provide evidence that proves you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia. While not exhaustive, following are some examples of what may be needed to demonstrate you have such ties.

Business ties: If you are claiming business ties with Australia, you will need to provide proof of the ties and explain how they are of benefit to Australia. You will need to show that you have substantial ownership interests in the business and are personally involved at a senior level in the day-to-day operations and management of the business. The business activity needs to be on going, 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. 

Cultural ties: There are a range of intellectual, artistic, sporting or religious pursuits which are not strictly of a business or employment nature but may be considered to be a cultural tie to Australia. 
If you are claiming cultural ties, you will need to provide proof your role is adding to Australia’s cultural life. This can include publications you have written, your membership of cultural associations, any media articles about you or proof of your performances.

Employment ties: To prove you have employment ties to Australia, you must show that you are currently employed, or have a formal offer of employment in Australia.

Personal ties: Substantial personal ties may be of benefit to Australia if you are, or have been, a participating member of the Australian community and economy. Living in Australia for a substantial period of time or living with an Australian citizen partner is taken into account. Proof of personal assets held in Australia or family who live in Australia could also help to demonstrate personal ties if you are able to show they are both substantial and of benefit to Australia.

2. Compelling Reasons for absence greater than 5 years

If you have been physically absent from Australia for more than five continuous years since the date you were last granted permanent residence (i.e. for a New Zealand citizen, your last arrival in Australia before 1 September 1994) you must provide evidence that there was a compelling reason for your absence.

You do not need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your entire absence from Australia. There must however be compelling reasons for any absence(s) from Australia greater than 5 years duration. While this may involve demonstrating why you were unable to return to Australia at the end of an absence, equally it may be that you are able to demonstrate that an event or reason that occurred at the beginning, in the middle, or on several separate occasions throughout the period of absence resulted in a total period overseas that exceeded 5 years.

The term ‘compelling’ is not defined in migration law, so its ordinary (dictionary) meaning applies. The term compelling implies that the reasons for the absence should be forceful to the person concerned.

Key elements in this also include the amount of time you previously lived in Australia, intentions of returning to Australia to live and the amount of time you have subsequently lived in Australia. Ultimately the issue is whether a reasonable person, faced with the same set of circumstances, would have made the same decision.

Some examples of compelling reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • severe illness or death of an overseas family member.
  • work or study commitments by you or your partner that are of a professional nature, in circumstances where the acquired experience results in a benefit to Australia.
  • You were living overseas in an on going relationship with an Australian citizen partner.
  • You or a family member was receiving complex or lengthy medical treatment preventing travel.
  • You or a family member was involved in legal proceedings such as sale of property, custody, or contractual obligation.
  • You were caught up in a natural disaster, political uprising or other similar event preventing travel 
  • You can demonstrate you were waiting for a significant personal event to occur that prevented you from relocating to or returning to Australia. The period of time for any such event would have to be reasonable in its context, for example: - a 12 month delay while waiting for a dependent child to complete their schooling or a tertiary qualification is likely to be a decision that a reasonable person, facing the same set of circumstances would make waiting to relocate to Australia for several years until a dependent child completes their schooling or course of study would not of itself be considered a decision a reasonable person would make.

The form needed to apply for an RRV is Form 1085 - Application for a Resident Return visa (RRV).
The fee for this visa application is currently $360. At Q44. remember to ALWAYS ASK/WRITE to have the non internet charge waived because we cannot apply on line. 

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If you don't have your original passport to prove when you travelled to Australia you might like to apply to Immigration for a request for international movement records, Form 1359

Here is the link to the Lorenzo case: CLICK HERE

This is the 118 Form to apply for citizenship via descent: 

To sponsor your children read Child Migration Booklet:

To sponsor your spouse read Partner Migration Booklet:

To be sponsored by an employer read Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) read Employment Sposnored Scheme (Permanent):

Business Talent (Permanent) visa (subclass 132) read Business Innovation and Investment booklet: