A person who holds a five-year resident return visa, a permanent resident visa in Australia, may legally remain in Australia indefinitely. Even after the five years given by the visa, a person may continue to live there. However, a person must renew or extend this visa if he wants to travel in and out of Australia.
Find out if you are eligible to apply for a resident return visa. According to the Australia Department of Immigration and Citizenship website, you are eligible for a resident return visa if you are one of the following: an Australian permanent resident, a former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not canceled or a former Australian citizen who lost or renounced citizenship. Also on the website, it says you must also meet at least one of these requirements: residence requirement (you must have "spent two (2) of the last five (5) years in Australia as a permanent resident"), substantial ties and compelling reasons for absence ("You can provide evidence of substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia, and if you have been absent for more than five (5) years, you are able to provide evidence of compelling reasons for your absence."), and/or you are an immediate family member of someone who has a permanent residency visa.
To apply for your resident return visa, you must fill out form 1085. With this application you pay an application fee of $240AUD, must present evidence of current or former permanent residence visa and have a valid passport.
If you have to prove any substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties, make sure that you have any documents that pertain to that. This may include tax returns, bank statements, publications that you have written, employment contracts, employee identification and proof of relationships with close family members who live in Australia. If you have spent at least two of the last five years as a permanent resident in Australia or have an immediate family member who holds a permanent residency visa, you do not need these documents.