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How long do you have to make the move to Australia after receiving the visa?

A question that keeps coming up time and time again from clients who are considering starting the process, is how long they have to make the move to Australia after they have received the permanent residence visa.

This is often borne of concern as to how long they have to tie up their personal affairs in South Africa or in several instances from the hope that circumstances in South Africa may change and improve in that time thereby reversing their decision to leave.

Well, the good news is that you have as much as 5 years to take up the visa permanently from time of visa grant. This is because the visa has attached to it a 5-year travel allowance, meaning that even though you are given rights to live and work in Australia permanently you can only use the visa itself for 5 years to travel. Thus, if you allow the visa to expire and you have not yet made the move, then the visa is basically worthless.

The question then becomes, but what if you move to Australia before then end of the 5 years, but want to travel after it has expired? If the travel period expires and you are planning on travelling outside Australia, you will need to apply for a resident return visa (RRV) to re-enter Australia.

To be eligible for this visa, you must also demonstrate that you have either:

·  lived in Australia for two years in the last five years as a permanent resident – this is why we recommend that clients make the move within 3 years, so that they have at least 2 years of residence in Australia, in which case they should receive an RRV for a further 5 years.


·  have substantial ties to Australia that are of benefit to the country such as employment or family –  if you do choose to come in year 4 or 5 of the visa time period, then as long as you can show that you have ties to the country, getting the return resident visa should not be a problem. BUT you will only get an RRV for a further 12 months, which can hamper your future travelling significantly.

So, as you can see, there is a lot of time to make the final decision as to whether you wish to immigrate or not after you have received the visa  – the greater concern, however, should be that you do not start the process in time and circumstances arise preventing you from ever leaving.

If you have any questions about the RRV or in relation to migration to Australia generally, please drop me an email at - David Dadic

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