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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 Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone. (06) 277 7360 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MPS 71/96


Permanent residents will be able to obtain a five-year Resident Return Visa (RRV) if they have been physically in Australia for at least two years in the last five years, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today.

"The Resident Return Visa system has been simplified and made more flexible. There will no longer be a requirement to assess whether or not a person has been 'usually resident' In Australia," Mr Ruddock said.

"Applications, including review applications, which have not been finalised on 1 November 1996 may be assessed against both the old criteria and the new criteria to access the more beneficial arrangements.

"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 previous system was too complex and inflexible," he said.

The Minister pointed out that only Australian citizens are able to enter Australia without a visa. He said that all permanent residents who are not Australian citizens and who have been travelling overseas need a RRV to re-enter Australia. Family members travelling on the same passport may be included in the same RRV application.

"If an applicant does not satisfy the two-year residence requirement, they can still be granted the five-year RRV under certain circumstances.

"They 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," he 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," Mr Ruddock said.

Note; These changes do not affect the arrangements for New Zealand passport holders.

01 November 1996

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