OZ announces changes to residency requirements and caps number of business visas

by Ray Clancy on March 29, 2010

Changes to residency requirements in Australia for those seeking citizenship are due to take effect this summer after a short transitional period ends.

The change has come about as a result of a clampdown on applications from individuals who travel outside of Australia for prolonged periods whilst attempting to fulfil the residency requirements of Australian citizenship.

The changes mean that from 1 July 2020 there will be only one general requirement that everyone who is over the age of 16 will have to meet. To apply you will need to have been living in Australia on a valid visa for four years immediately before applying, including one year as a permanent resident and not have been absent from Australia for more than a year during the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the year immediately before applying.

One set of transitional arrangements have been in place since 2007 but these will end on 30 June 2010 when another smaller set of rules will apply for a month. So if you became a permanent resident before 1 July 2007 and apply for citizenship on or before 30 June 2010, the residence requirement will be to have been living in Australia for two years as a permanent resident in the five years immediately before applying, including one year in the two years immediately before applying.

If you became a permanent resident on or after 1 July 2007 the residence requirement is to have been living in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying, including one year as a permanent resident and not have been absent from Australia for more than one year during the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the year immediately before applying.

The Australian Immigration and Citizenship Department has also announced that the number of Australian business visas that will be issued this year has been capped at 6,530.

Applications are currently still being accepted but the number of applications is likely to reach the maximum in the near future and when that happens, no more applications will be considered until after 30th June 2010.

The cap on business visas will affect several subclasses including the business talent, business owner, senior executives, investor, state sponsored business owner, state sponsored senior executive and state sponsored investor visas.

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