Verifying temporary absences


This topic describes verification of temporary absences including:

  • general provisions
  • length of temporary absence
  • departure and arrival times for temporary absences
  • reason for temporary absence
  • connections with Australia (1.1.A.320), and
  • connections with another country.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.1 Residence requirements

General provisions

A person outside Australia may still be regarded as an Australian resident for some payments. A person who is temporarily absent, rather than permanently residing outside Australia, must demonstrate a continued commitment to Australia as their home.

The following factors must be considered:

  • length of absence, and
  • reason for absence.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who: …, section 7(3) Residing in Australia

Length of temporary absence

The person must intend to return to Australia within a specific period. An absence of 12 months or less would usually be accepted as temporary. However, a period of up to 3 years absence should be regarded as an upper limit unless there are exceptional circumstances delaying the person's return (e.g. medical treatment; acute family crisis; sudden ill health. See and

Departure & arrival times for temporary absences

DHS uses the date of departure and arrival provided by the Department of Home Affairs through a data sharing arrangement. This is based on the date of clearance through immigration.

If a person's departure or arrival is delayed due circumstances outside of their control (e.g. their flight is significantly delayed) and they are able to provide evidence of alternative dates, DHS may consider using the alternative dates if it would result in a beneficial outcome for the recipient.

Reason for temporary absence

The purpose of an overseas visit may indicate whether it is of a temporary nature. The reason should be consistent with the intended length of the absence. The person must demonstrate an intention to return to Australia at the end of their stay.

Example: This may be accepted where a person is posted overseas for a specified period by their employer or an educational institution.

Connections with Australia

Consideration should also be given to the person's continuing ties to Australia. Factors that indicate a person's continuing ties with Australia are:

  • retention of property such as
    • a home
    • other real estate
    • furniture, and
    • other belongings in Australia
  • savings maintained with Australian financial institutions
  • family remaining in Australia, such as immediate and extended family
  • length of residence in Australia before departure, and
  • continued connections with an Australian employer.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(3) Residing in Australia

Connections with another country

Looking at the person's commitment to their overseas home may help to decide if a person is living permanently outside Australia and therefore can no longer be considered an Australian resident. Factors that indicate that a person is no longer permanently residing in Australia because of ties with a country of residence overseas are:

  • purchase of a home overseas, or entry into a long term lease arrangement
  • family members who are residing permanently overseas
  • periods of residence overseas
  • commencement of employment overseas and the length of the contract
  • enrolment of children in educational institutions, if inconsistent with the intended period of absence
  • commitment to community activities at an overseas residence
  • investment in overseas financial institutions or enterprises, or
  • electoral enrolment.
Last reviewed: 11 November 2019