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NZ Citizens

Streamlined pathway to Australian PR and citizenship for NZ citizens

New Zealanders who arrived after 26 February 2001, but on or before 19 February 2016, have been living in Australia for the last five years, have been earning at least the equivalent of TSMIT and pass mandatory health, character and security checks are eligible for a new streamlined pathway to Australian permanent residency and citizenship.

The pathway will be made available within the Skilled Independent category of the GSM stream in the annual Migration Programme from 1 July 2017.

Current pathways for New Zealand Citizens

Since the 1920s there have been various arrangements between Australia and New Zealand that have allowed the free movement of citizens between each country. For many years New Zealanders and Australians did not need a visa to enter, live and work in each other’s country. However, since the Migration Reform Act 1992 took effect on 1 September 1994, everyone in Australia who is not a citizen of Australia must have a visa. For New Zealanders, a special visa class – the ‘Special Category Visa’ (subclass 444) (SCV) – was created. This visa is granted (subject to character and health conditions) automatically to holders of New Zealand passports when they enter Australia.

Current pathways for family members of New Zealand Citizens

Family members who are not also New Zealand citizens cannot be granted a SCV. This is because all applicants for a SCV must meet the primary criteria, which requires them to be a New Zealand citizen.

What visa a family member is able to, or should, apply for may depend on whether the New Zealand citizen relative is an ENZ Citizen (who can sponsor family members) or has become an Australian permanent resident or citizen. There are four potential ways for family members of New Zealand citizens to enter, or remain in, Australia:

Whether the family member enters Australia on a temporary or permanent visa will affect their rights in Australia (eg. ability to obtain Australian citizen­ship, sponsor family members and receive social security payments).

  1. apply for a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa  – this is a temporary five-year renewable visa; or
  2. if the family head is an ENZ Citizen, or has become an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen, apply for a visa with sponsorship by the New Zealand citizen (eg a Spouse or Child visa).
  3. apply for a visa without sponsorship by the New Zealand citizen (eg Employer Nomination Scheme or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa can  be applied for in Australia by the holder of a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa -the family member will need to meet the criteria for the relevant subclass of visa applied for; or
  4. if the family head applies for permanent residence, their family members may be able to be included as secondary applicants.

Resident Return Visa

Any New Zealand citizen present in Australia (even for 1 day) prior to 01 September 1994) was a Permanent Resident under the definition of that time. They therefore meet the definition of "Former Australian Permanent Resident" for the purposes of RRV eligibility.

Please contact us to assess which options may be available to you.