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Just had a thought this morning (rare I know) while sitting drinking coffee in the conservatory looking out at a dark, cold Scotland and wishing I was in Brisbane.

We have our permanent resident visas good up until 2013. Now we plan to move this year, probably August, but my thought was - is there some criteria we need to fulfil to keep the visa or qualify for citizenship. I remember reading something yonks ago about having to live for 24 months and work for 12 months but can't remember if that was for our PR visas or the original sponsored visa we thought we would need, and for the life of me I can't find a reference to it again.

There is nothing in our visa letter so maybe I was havering.

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Comment by John on February 11, 2010 at 15:35
Thanks for that Ken.
Comment by Ken Fayers on February 11, 2010 at 15:26
John the first thing you have to understand is that a PR visa is really two things in one: 1) a permanent right to remain in Australia - and 2) a temporary (five year) multiple entry visa for Australia. Permanent residency gives (as the name suggests) a permanent right to remain in Australia. There are no criteria that you need to meet to keep it except that you do need to be in Australia.
In order to obtain citizenship of Australia you need to have lived in Australia for 4 years (I think - you might want check the exact figure) after getting permanent residency (the time between getting the PR visa and moving doesn't count) and have passed the citizenship exam. There's no requirement that I'm aware of to have actually been working during any of those 4 years (provided you can afford a 4 year holiday) 12 months skilled work experience in the last 24 months is a requirement in some visa applications so I assume that is what you are getting mixed up with.
If you are in Australia after your PR visa expires and before you've obtained citizenship you will need to obtain a Resident Return Visa before you make any trip out of the country or you won't get back in again. I believe that the length of the Resident Return Visa granted will depend on how long you have been in Australia. If you can't prove that you're really living in Australia a Resident Return Visa might only be issued for 2 weeks - useful if you need to rush back for a funeral or some such but not much else.
If you are outside Australia when your PR visa expires and haven't obtained an RRV or your RRV has expired you'll need to apply for a new visa to enter Australia. If the view of Australian Immigration is that you never really became a resident that might not be easy to obtain.

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