Whilst a great deal is written and widely published about going to live and work in Australia, there is little detailed information made available for those who have a dream of retiring ‘down under.’ This is largely because it is expensive and/or restrictive to do so.
However, for those with families in Australia or for whom the lure of the nation appeals very strongly, there are ways to make the move possible. In this guide we’ll discuss how to retire to Australia for those who are exploring all their options of an overseas retirement.
The main ways to be able to gain at least temporary residence to retire to Australia are by being sponsored by your child or children who are permanent residents in Australia or by applying under the Investor Retirement Visa category. We will now explore each option more closely…
1) If you are a parent of a child who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen and your child has been settled in Australia for at least 2 years and can sponsor you, then you can apply under either the Parent Category or the Contributory Parent Category. Bonds are paid and held for either 2 or 10 years, the applicant must pass health and character assessments as well as a balance of family test whereby at least half of their children live in Australia or more children live in Australia than in any other single country overseas.
2) If you are of state retirement age and have a relative in Australia who is a child, adopted child, parent, brother or sister, grandchild, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew, (or step relative of the same degree), and you are single due to never having been married, being widowed or divorced, you may be able to apply for an Aged Dependent Relative visa. Your Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen relative will have to sponsor you and you will have to prove you are dependent on them.
3) Another alternative for those who want to retire to Australia is to apply for a Remaining Relative Visa. You can apply if your only close relatives are resident in Australia and are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens. If you have a brother, sister, parent (or step-equivalent) in Australia and you and your spouse have no other brothers, sisters, children, parents (or step-equivalents) than those in Australia you may be eligible.
4) Alternatively, if you could act as a carer to an Australian relative who has a serious medical condition causing them physical, intellectual or sensory impairment then it’s possible you could be eligible to apply to retire to Australia under the terms of the Carer Relative visa category.
5) And finally – the most expensive option for those who dream of living in Australia in retirement and who cannot satisfy the criteria for any of the above mentioned visa options, there is the Investor Retirement Visa which is a temporary 4 year visa renewable for further periods of 4 years at a time. This visa category will not lead to permanent residency in Australia or to Australian citizenship and it is for those aged 55 or over (although an accompanying spouse can be under this qualifying age), who have no dependents and are able to fully financially support themselves in Australia. In terms of the amount of money an applicant will need, it is quite substantial. A second visa application charge of AUD 8,000 per person is made, then an individual or couple have to prove they have assets available for transfer to Australia to the net value of AUD 500,000 if settling in a regional area, or AUD 750,000 if settling in a non-regional area. On top of this the applicant/s must have annual income based on capital for investment, pension rights or both pension rights and capital for investment of at least AUD 50,000 if settling in a regional area or AUD 65,000 if settling in a non-regional area - and they need to be able to set aside an investment in a government treasury bond with the sponsoring State/Territory government of AUD 500,000 if settling in a regional area or AUD 750,000 if settling in a non-regional area.
As you can see, it is possible to retire to Australia and there are a number of classes of visa under which you can be eligible to apply for residency. If you are thinking about your options it can make sense to examine the criteria of each visa more closely, and this can be done via the Australian department of immigration’s website.