4 Oct 2017

Migrants may need to stay in Australia temporarily before applying for permanent residence

Migrants may need to spend a certain period of time in Australia before becoming eligible for permanent residence, if Government’s plans for mandatory provisional visas go ahead.

The Immigration Department recently released a discussion paper stating that temporary residence is increasingly becoming the first step to living in Australia. According to the paper, around half of Australia’s permanent visas were granted to those on a temporary visa in 2015-16. It is clear that there is an appetite for those temporarily in Australia to want to stay, but should it be mandatory for migrants to spend a period of time in Australia before applying for permanent residence?

Currently, only some of Australia’s permanent visa categories require provisional visa stages before permanent residence, such as partner visas and some business migration visas. Most permanent visa categories, such as the ‘General Skilled Migration Program,’ do not have a provisional stage. The General Skilled program is Australia’s largest permanent migration program with over 70,000 permanent places planned for the current program year (to June 2018). Commonly known as Subclass 189 and 190 visas, applicants for these visas currently do not have to spend any time in Australia before applying for permanent residence.

Introducing mandatory provisional visas therefore represents a significant shift in the way in which permanent residence is granted in Australia. However, the trend is not a new one. We have already seen changes to Australia’s skilled visa program through the Government’s introduction of the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Under the recent 457 visa changes, a pathway to permanent residence is only available to people with the skills and experience for occupations on the MLTSSL list.

Recently we have also seen the Immigration Department place significant emphasis on Australian values under the proposed citizenship changes. It will be interesting to see whether a person’s demonstration of Australian values over a mandatory provisional period will become a deciding factor towards permanent residence eligibility.

In December last year, Immigracious reported that Fairfax published leaked Government papers revealing discussions to put migrants on probation before becoming eligible for permanent residency and Australian citizenship. Read our post on this here.

As the Government continues to review Australia’s visa system, there could be multiple upcoming changes to current permanent residence pathways. If you would like to find out if you are eligible for permanent residence, contact our migration agents for a complimentary visa assessment or contact 08 6263 4406 or


Immigracious Migration Agents

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Policy Consultation Paper – Visa Simplification: Transforming Australia’s Visa System

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Visas


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