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Resident Return Visa

What constitutes “substantial ties” for a Resident Return Visa?

By 1 May, 2023June 19th, 20232 Comments6 min read

A Resident Return Visa (RRV) allows current and former permanent residents, and former citizens of Australia, to travel abroad and return to Australia as permanent residents. For general information about RRVs, you may see our article here.

Individuals who have spent two years in Australia as a permanent resident in the five years preceding an RRV application are normally entitled to the grant of a five-year RRV. If you do not fulfil the residence requirement, you may still be eligible for the grant of an RRV on the basis of possessing “substantial ties to Australia that are of benefit to Australia.”

This requirement is designed to retain migrants who can demonstrate a genuine commitment to living in Australia, and who are contributing to Australia’s community and well-being.

The Department of Home Affairs (Department) will consider your ties to Australia through four limbs:

  1. Business ties
  2. Cultural ties
  3. Employment ties
  4. Personal ties

The Department will consider your ties as a whole and determine whether this cumulatively demonstrates ties which are substantial and beneficial to Australia.  Further information about each of these ties are outlined below.

Business ties

Individuals engaged in business activities may be able to demonstrate substantial ties to Australia if they hold substantial ownership interests and are involved in management. “Business activity” implies ongoing, regular activity which:

  • Is commercial in nature;
  • Has an intention to make a profit; and
  • Has a system of record keeping and management.

The business should either be an Australian business, or a branch of a business which has connections to Australia.

The Department considers various factors when evaluating if a business tie is substantial and of benefit to Australia, including the:

  • Creation of employment for Australians;
  • Generation of revenue in or for Australia;
  • Size of the business;
  • Enhancement of Australia’s links with other countries;
  • Production of high-quality goods and services in Australia;
  • Export of Australian knowledge and technology; and
  • Introduction of new technology into Australia.

The Department considers whether the business is actively trading at the time of application and takes into account evidence such as the business’ registration, taxation assessments, contracts, and other records.

You may be able to claim ties on the basis of being a professional investor and making a living from the active management of an investment portfolio. You are likely to be considered to have substantial business ties if you hold substantial and actively managed investments in Australia.

Cultural Ties

Cultural ties to Australia include an individual’s intellectual, artistic, sporting, or religious activities. Such ties are stronger if the individual pursues such cultural activities at a professional level or with a degree of public recognition. Examples include being:

  • Accepted as a member of a cultural community in Australia and being actively involved in the community’s activities;
  • Involved in the Arts at a professional level;
  • A member of a religious community in Australia; or
  • A sports person or a professional support staff who is a member of an Australian sporting association.

Employment ties

Employment in Australia is typically considered a substantial tie that is of benefit to the country. You may also be able to claim substantial ties if you hold an offer of employment. The strength of your ties on the basis of an employment offer will depend on indicators of your intention to reside in Australia, for example:

  • Whether the position is consistent with your qualifications and experience;
  • The immediacy of the commencement of employment;
  • Arrangements for accommodation in Australia; and
  • Enrolment of your children in school.

The Department may consider your employment outside Australia as being an employment tie, in circumstances where you are employed by:

  • An Australian organisation;
  • A Commonwealth, state, territory or local government organisation;
  • The Australian office of an international charity organisation; or
  • An international organisation, as a representative of Australia.

If your position requires frequent travel or long periods of overseas postings, you will generally need to show that your salary base in still in Australia.

Personal ties

Personal ties reflect an individual’s participation within the Australian community and their enrichment of the lives of other Australians. A strong factor comes from having close family members who are Australian citizens or permanent residents, as preserving family unity is considered to be of benefit to Australia. Examples of personal ties on the basis of Australian family members can include having:

  • Been living outside Australia with a partner who is an Australian citizen;
  • Been living outside Australia with your family, including minor children who are Australian citizens, and demonstrating an intention to return and reside in Australia together; and
  • Close family members in Australia, who are Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Further examples of personal ties include:

  • Having a history of long-term residence in Australia, especially during one’s formative years and/or upon first being granted a permanent visa;
  • Having been living in Australia for more than 12 months in the last five years, including as a temporary resident; and
  • Owning personal assets in Australia.

When assessing personal ties, the Department considers an individual’s overall circumstances to determine if they regard Australia as their home and intend to reside here permanently.

How can we help?

If you are a permanent resident, former permanent resident, or former Australian citizen hoping to obtain a RRV, feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 to determine which options might be available. Our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to the Resident Return Visa process, including demonstrating substantial ties, and compelling and compassionate reasons.

This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information
Edison Zhang

Author Edison Zhang

Edison discovered his passion for immigration and citizenship law while studying in Canada as an international student. He deeply sympathises with the challenges faced by immigrants, and hopes to help others gain the opportunity to start a new life in Australia.

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