5 Australian Permanent Resident Entitlements
An Australian permanent resident (permanent resident) is the name given to a non-citizen who is the holder of a permanent visa. A permanent resident can live, work and study without restriction in Australia.
A permanent resident has most of the rights and entitlements of a citizen, but with some differences:
- A citizen has an automatic right of entry to Australia.
- A permanent resident who travels internationally, needs to ensure they have a permanent residence visa with a valid passport to return to Australia.
- In most cases, permanent residents cannot vote in Australian Government elections.
Eligibility for Australian government services and benefits, for both citizens and non-citizens, is the responsibility of the government agency with policy responsibility for the service or benefit.
So without further ado, here are 5 Australian permanent resident entitlements.
1) Social Security (Centrelink)
Advice about eligibility for benefits and services is obtained from the Department of Human Services (Centrelink).
New Australian residents may have to wait 104 weeks before they can get payments or use a departments services.
This does not apply to family assistance payments.
Families with children
Payments such as Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate are available to help with the costs of raising children. You may be eligible if you are caring for a child, whether it is your birth child, grandchild, foster child or adopted child.
Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance provides extra help with the cost of approved child care if you are looking for work, studying, training or undertaking rehabilitation to enter, or re-enter, the workforce.
Double Orphan Pension provides help with the costs of caring for children who are orphans or unable to be cared for by their parents in certain circumstances.
Special Benefit help is available if: –
- you find yourself in severe financial hardship and not able to support yourself and your dependents.
- unable to receive another income support payment from Centrelink.
2) National Health Scheme (Medicare)
Eligibility is available to an “Australian resident as defined by the Health Insurance Act 1973.
What is covered by Medicare?
Medicare is the basis of Australia’s health care system and covers many health care costs. You can choose whether to have Medicare cover only, or a combination of Medicare and private health insurance.
The Medicare system has three parts: hospital, medical and pharmaceutical.
Under Medicare you can be treated as a public patient in a public hospital, at no charge, by a doctor appointed by the hospital. You can choose to be treated as a public patient, even if you are privately insured.
As a public patient, you cannot choose your own doctor and you may not have a choice about when you are admitted to hospital.
Medicare does not cover:
- private patient hospital costs (for example, theatre fees or accommodation),
- medical and hospital costs incurred overseas,
- medical and hospital services which are not clinically necessary, or surgery solely for cosmetic reasons,
- ambulance services.
When you visit a doctor outside a hospital, Medicare will reimburse 100% of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) fee for a general practitioner and 85% of the MBS fee for a specialist. If your doctor bills Medicare directly (bulk billing), you will not have to pay anything.
Medicare provides benefits for:
- consultation fees for doctors, including specialists,
- tests and examinations by doctors needed to treat illnesses, such as x-rays and pathology tests,
- eye tests performed by optometrists,
- most surgical and other therapeutic procedures performed by doctors,
- some surgical procedures performed by approved dentists,
- specific items under the Cleft Lip and Palate Scheme,
- specific items under the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program,
- specified items for allied health services as part of the Chronic Disease Management Plan.
Medicare does not cover:
- examinations for life insurance, superannuation or memberships for which someone else is responsible (for example, a compensation insurer, employer or government authority),
- ambulance services;
- most dental examinations and treatment,
- most physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology services,
- acupuncture (unless part of a doctor’s consultation),
- glasses and contact lenses,
- hearing aids and other appliances.
- home nursing.
Under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) you pay only part of the cost of most prescription medicines purchased at pharmacies. The rest of the cost is covered by the PBS. You must present your Medicare card to obtain this benefit.
The amount you pay varies with the medicine, up to a standard maximum. People with concession cards have a lower maximum payment.
The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Malta, Italy, Belgium, the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand.
- Each state government manages the school system within their state.
- They provide funds and regulation for their schools.
- Both public schools and private schools exist in each state.
- Governments schools (also known as public schools) are free to attend for permanent residents.
- The curriculum taught in each state or school may vary but the learning areas are the same.
- It is the national government who provides the funding for universities in all the states and each is independent in its governance.
- They set their courses and course content. A professional body must endorse a course for it to run.
- Typically, a university course takes three or four years of study.
More information is available on the Studying in Australia page.
Australian Taxation Office defines super as “A system where money is placed in a fund to provide for a person’s retirement.”
How does it work?
If you work for a company or organisation, your employer must pay money into a super account in your name, which is then managed by a super fund. The formula used is currently 9.5% of your income, including bonuses, commissions and loadings. This is called the Super Guarantee and it’s the law.
If you’re self-employed you choose how much of your income you set aside for superannuation.
What is superannuation?
Personal superannuation (often simply known as ‘super’) is basically a retirement fund. You invest money in a superannuation fund to build a nest egg to live on when you’re no longer earning a wage. And the more you put away now, the more money there is when retiring.
Over the years, the contributions add up and are invested by your super fund with the aim of growing them even further.
You need to wait until you are at least 60 years old (to be tax free) or when you retire i.e. over 60 years of age.
5) Migration Sponsorship
You must admit that these 5 Australian permanent resident entitlements are quite impressive. Government, for whatever reason, is always tinkering with these benefits, usually to save money, but the basics remain.
I hope this post, Australian permanent resident entitlements, gives you a better understanding of benefits available for all permanent residents who have settled in Oz.
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