Immigration to Australia: 8 differences between Permanent Residency and Citizenship

There are many residents who live and work in Australia all year round and choose to hold an Australian permanent resident (PR) for a long time without taking an oath to become an Australian citizen. So in Australia, what is the biggest difference between PR and naturalization?

Australian Citizenship

The permanent residence refers to Australia’s permanent residence visa or right. After obtaining permanent residence in Australia and meeting the requirements of the government, you can apply for naturalization or renew your permanent residence. In addition to this method, there are other qualifications for applying for naturalization, such as:

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  • If one of the parents is a permanent resident or an Australian citizen, if the child was born in Australia, then the child will become an Australian citizen;
  • If at least one of the parents is an Australian permanent resident or citizen, if the child is born overseas, then the child can register as an Australian citizen based on the inheriting parent and enjoy the same rights as a child born in Australia.
  • The partner or spouse of an Australian citizen can apply for naturalization if they meet the conditions. The prerequisite for applying for naturalization is to become a permanent resident first.

What are the main differences between Australian permanent residents and citizens?

Differences australian resident permit citizen

1. The right to vote and the right to be elected

In Australia’s referendum and government elections at all levels, only Australian citizens have the right to vote. (But for voting rights, there are other requirements such as criminal records).

Participating in the election as a political candidate also requires becoming an Australian citizen.

2. The right to join the army – only citizens can join the army

3. Australian citizens have the obligation to participate in the jury, resident permit holders don’t

4. To work in certain government departments.

To work in the Australian defense department and military, federal police, border protection, federal government, diplomatic and intelligence personnel, you must become an Australian citizen.

5. There are difference rules guiding how either can enter and leave Australia.

Permanent residence can live in Australia without restrictions.

Citizens can live in Australia indefinitely, and there is no requirement for the time you live overseas (as long as they meet the visa requirements of the country you are visiting), and they can also enter Australia at any time.

When returning to Australia, there is no need to line up with tourists and other foreign passport holders. And the new Arrivals SmartGate facility makes it easier for citizens to enter.

With an Australian passport, you can travel to 160 countries visa-free.

6. Enjoy Australian consular services overseas

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides consular services to Australian citizens. If you are in a difficult situation overseas, have an accident or been injured, you can get consular assistance from an Australian diplomatic station in your country.

DFAT’s Consular Emergency Service Center provides consular assistance to Australians experiencing emergency situations overseas, and in some countries, Australian citizens can also seek help from Canadian embassies and consulates.

7. Resident permit holders can be deported

Any resident of Australia, even permanent residents, as long as they are not Australian citizens, may be deported under some special circumstances, including:

  • Sentenced to a prison term of more than 12 months
  • Considered to pose a threat to national security
  • Fail the good character test

8. Different benefits in Australia

New permanent residence visa holders are not allowed to apply for unemployment relief or emergency comprehensive relief within the first two years.

Only Australian citizens, or New Zealand special visa holders who meet the long-term residency requirements, and permanent humanitarian visa holders are eligible to apply for the Higher Education Student Loan (HECS-HELP).

For any related inquiries or questions, please refer to the official website of the Australian government.

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