Permanent resident

A few days ago, an official form asked me if I was a permanent resident (of Australia). I pondered for a while then answered ‘yes’. But I’m not. A citizen is not a permanent resident. One website of the government department responsible for visa says “You can become a permanent resident of Australia by applying for and being granted a permanent visa that allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely.” That’s obviously not me.

Most official forms ask either:

Are you:
an Australian citizen [  ]
an Australian permanent resident [  ]
an eligible New Zealand citizen [  ]
none of the above [  ]

(to which I tick ‘Australian citizen’)

or:

Are you an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen [Yes / No]

(to which I tick ‘Yes’).

I think I know what they are asking, but my legal editing colleagues agreed that it was a strangely worded question. My citizenship does not rely on me living in Australia permanently, or at all, but a ‘permanent’ resident can actually lose their visa by living outside Australia for too long.

Relevantly, the question was part of an application for a bank loan. The bank’s major concern is that I can pay back the loan in the required time, which obviously relies on some continuity of employment. I wonder if people who are applying for a smaller, personal loan are asked that question.

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