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New Zealanders in Australia

Australia and New Zealand are best of mates from the land down under. If we remember, on the 19th February 2016, the Australian Government has made an announcement about an additional visa type that would allow New Zealanders to gain permanent residency in Australia. Well, on the 1st July 2017, the “New Zealand Stream” has been added onto the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa.

New Zealand

Australian / New Zealander … What’s the difference if you are in Australia?

Most New Zealand Citizens will have the right to live, work, study and travel in/out of Australia. Exceptions may apply if you have extensive criminal history. The major differences that I have found people are not aware of are:

  • You may be able to live in Australia indefinitely but you do not have “Australian Permanent Residency” automatically.
  • To apply for Australian Citizenship, you need to hold an Australian Permanent Residency (PR).
  • Your visa can get cancelled.
  • You could be refused a visa upon entry into Australia.
  • You could study in Australia but most schools/colleges will charge you an International Student tuition fee.
  • If you’re living and working in Australia and would like to sponsor your non-Australian partner, you may not be able to sponsor them for an Australian Partner Visa. They may have to apply for the New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Subclass 461) Visa instead.

Eligible New Zealand Citizen

If you are a New Zealand Citizen in Australia, you are most likely to be holding a New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV). You can check your visa status with Immigration here.

If you’ve arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and were in Australia on the 26th February 2001, lived in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before assessment, and were assessed as a protected SCV holder before the 26th February 2004, you are an Eligible New Zealand Citizen. This entitles you to extra privileges. For example, you can sponsor family members for an Australian Permanent Visa.

Not an Eligible New Zealand Citizen? Keep calm and read on.

Who can get an Australian Permanent Residency as the primary applicant through the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) (New Zealand Stream) Visa?

Here are some of the criteria:

  • You hold a New Zealand Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa
  • You have been usually resident in Australia on or before 19th February 2016
  • You have resided in Australia for at least 5 years
  • You can demonstrate taxable income above the threshold:
  • $49,330 during the financial year 2011 – 2012
  • $51,400 during the financial year 2012 – 2013
  • $53,900 during the financial year 2013 – 2014
  • $53,900 during the financial year 2014 – 2015
  • $53,900 during the financial year 2015 – 2016
  • $53,900 during the financial year 2016 – 2017
  • You may be exempted if you have matters related to the Family Court of Australia, injury compensation or approved parental/carer leave.
  • You meet mandatory health, character and security checks.

Australian Citizenship Pathway

Despite the recent Australian Citizenship requirement change announcements, you may be eligible to apply for an Australian Citizenship 12 months after holding this Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) (New Zealand Stream) Visa.

Contact our Registered Migration Agent today!

As we know, everyone’s story is different. There are many definitions, exemptions and scenarios that may be involved in yours. Contact your friendly and trusted Registered Migration Agent today to discuss how we can assist in your Australian migration journey.


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