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The visa loop hole that is allowing immigrants to stay in Australia for years

A visa loophole is allowing immigrants to stay in Australia for years, but some say they are being left in limbo and unable to secure career-type jobs.

More than 10,000 non-residents are waiting for their permanent residency visas to be approved.

It takes an average of three years for a permanent resident visa to be processed, with many immigrants working through the entire range of Australian visa options to stay in the country.

Heather Eiswirth has been in Australia for nine years and is recently married to an Australian citizen, though still does not have the right to permanent residency.

More than 10,000 non-residents are in limbo waiting for permanent residency visas in Australia. Pictured: tourists arrive in Sydney before borders closed to non-citizens on March 20

'I came to Australia at 19 on a working holiday visa and spent a year in hospitality waitressing and managing,' Ms Eiswirth told The Australian. 

'After that, I obtained a student visa and studied event management at a TAFE in Melbourne.'

The 28-year-old was born in Germany and is currently in the country on 457 temporary skilled migrant visa.

Ms Eiswirth plans to settle with her new husband in Melbourne and is planning ahead to upgrade her status to her fifth Australian visa to stay in the country.

'Simply getting married to an Australian doesn't give you the right to stay in the country,' she said.

Ms Eiswirth is one of thousands of tourists and international graduates in the country without permanent residency, leaving many unable to work in their trained industry. 

International tourists are required to do farm work in a variety of key industries in order to obtain a working holiday visa in Australia, with tourists on this visa unable to work for the same employer for more than six months.

Some immigrants are working through the entire range of Australian visas to keep themselves in the country for years (stock image)

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked calls to remove restrictions and allow skilled workers to provide assistance in industries with skill shortages such as nursing.

Employers are often reluctant to hire staff without permanent residency in Australia, leaving many qualified international workers at a disadvantage when applying for jobs.

Ms Eiswirth said immigrants struggle to find long-term career jobs without residency in Australia. 

'I've been fortunate with my employer, but overall I do think it is harder to find career-type jobs if you are on a visa rather than having permanent residency,' she said.

International tourists struggle to get career jobs without permanent residency in Australia. Pictured: A traveller leaving Bondi backpackers on April 3

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