What Are The Differences Between Australian PR And Citizenship?

What Are The Differences Between Australian PR And Citizenship?

Differences between PR and Citizehnship

Australia is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes and people. It’s home to shimmering red deserts and lush tropical forests. The cities are bustling cultural and political hothouses filled with secret cafes and unique architecture. Many Singaporeans have been enchanted by the country and dream to migrate to Australia from Singapore. But alongside emigration comes the conversation about residency and citizenship. The difference between Australian permanent residency (PR) and Australian citizenship often confuses those wishing to emigrate. It can be challenging to get a complete picture of each status with many resources. A leading expert in migration to Australia, NTRUST has consolidated vital information about the difference between PR and citizenship into an easy-to-understand format so you can focus on more critical considerations for Australian immigration. 

Australian Permanent Resident

The Australian government defines a permanent resident as ‘a non-citizen that is given the right to remain in Australia indefinitely,’ but how does one attain a permanent visa? An Australian PR application will generally cover one of the following for most people:

1. Family-stream Permanent Visa

These are for partners, children, parents, or dependent relatives of an Australian citizen or permanent resident. You are eligible for this visa if you already have family under one of those categories with PR or citizenship status in Australia. If you are one of many individuals with one Australian parent or an Australian partner, explore these options to be closer to your family.

2. Work-stream Permanent Visa

This option is for workers employed by an Australian organisation. The organisation can sponsor the individual to work in Australia. Occasionally, exceptional workers who will benefit the economic well-being of Australia are also admitted as PRs

3. Skilled Migration Visa

Under the Work-stream Permanent Visa category, one of the most common routes to becoming an Australian PR is the Skilled Migration Visa. Two of the popular tracks in the Skilled Migration Visa pathway are the Skilled Independent Work Visa (Subclass 189) and Skilled Nominated Work Visa (Subclass 190). For the Skilled Independent Work Visa, if your vocation is listed on Australia’s Skilled Occupations List, you are eligible to apply for this visa that enables you to hold a job and reside in the country as a permanent resident. Applicants will also have to check if they qualify for the eligibility requirements, finish a skills assessment and submit an expression of interest through SkillSelect. While the Skilled Nominated Visa shares the same benefits with the Skilled Independent Visa, it differs in how foreign nationals can only be accepted and nominated by state or territory governments in Australia. Private employers cannot nominate them. If an employer is willing to sponsor you, have your sponsor complete the paperwork and you can apply for the relevant visa.

For a more detailed look at the visas you can apply for to become a permanent resident, check our blog post on the different visa pathways for migration to Australia. 

In addition, a PR will have to go through an Australian PR visa renewal process to maintain their residency status in Australia


Becoming an Australian citizen is a commitment to the nation and its values. As a citizen, you are subject to specific responsibilities and privileges. These include serving on jury duty, voting in elections, standing for Parliament, working in public service positions, joining the military, seeking diplomatic help overseas and more. You can apply to become a citizen if you are a permanent resident or were born to an Australian citizen parent while overseas. To become a citizen, you must fulfil the eligibility requirements. These include a character examination, demonstrating an understanding of the English language, completing a citizenship test and an interview. After checking their eligibility for citizenship, applicants just have to submit an Australian citizenship application online at the Department For Home Affairs Website. 

Key Differences Between A PR & Citizen

For both Australian citizens and permanent residents, the government services and benefits they are subject to are determined by the rules set by the relevant government agency. However, there are two primary differences between an Australian citizen and a permanent resident. 

1. Travel

An Australian citizen has the right of entry to Australia without a visa. PRs must ensure they have the proper travel authority on their visa to return to Australia as a permanent resident. 

2. Voting

In the event of an election, Australian citizens are legally obliged to vote. In contrast, a PR cannot vote in any Australian polls, regardless of whether it is a federal, state and local election.

Need more help?

Understanding the difference between citizen and permanent residence can make the application process go more smoothly. If you want help immigrating to Australia, consider consulting professionals who can help you navigate this important decision. Get in touch with an NTRUST expert today if you have any questions about migrating to Australia from Singapore.