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Resident Return Visas simplified

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliam ent House, Canberra A C T 2600

M inister for Im m igration and M ulticultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MPS 58/96


The Resident Return Visa (RRV) system is to be simplified and made more flexible from 1 November 1996, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

All permanent residents who are not Australian citizens need a Resident Return Visa to re-enter Australia from travelling overseas. Only Australian citizens are able to enter Australia without a visa.

"From 1 November 1996, permanent residents will be able to obtain five-year RRVs as long as they have been physically in Australia for a total of at least two years in the last five years. Family members travelling on the same passport may be included in the same application," Mr Ruddock said.

If an applicant does not satisfy the two-year residence requirement, they may still be granted the five-year RRV in certain circumstances. The person must have current substantial business, employment, cultural or personal ties with Australia, which are of benefit to Australia. In addition, they must not have been absent from Australia for a continuous period of five years or more unless there have been compelling

circumstances for the absence.

"The change is a result of a recent review of the RRV system, during which my Department consulted over 130 government and non-government organisations and interest groups. The overwhelming conclusion was that the current system was too

complex and inflexible," Mr Ruddock said.

A three-month visa will also continue to be available in compelling and compassionate circumstances when a person needs to leave Australia for a short period such as on the death overseas of a family member.

"While the Government aims to simplify procedures wherever possible, I believe that only those migrants who have a continuing commitment and who are making a sound contribution to Australia, should retain the right to return and remain here permanently," Mr Ruddock said.

29 August 1996

Media inquiries: Steve Ingram (06) 277 7860

(Note: These changes do not affect the arrangements for New Zealand passport holders.)