The Kiwis Are Coming! Australia Offers Permanent Residency To 60,000 New Zealanders

The Kiwis Are Coming! Australia Offers Permanent Residency To 60,000 New Zealanders

The Australian government has announced a new pathway for New Zealanders living in Australia to apply for Australian citizenship. The new option for permanent residency will be available to tens of thousands of New Zealand expats currently living and working Down Under. Here’s what kiwis need to know.

New Zealand image from Shutterstock

Today, the Turnbull government announced an additional visa pathway that will open the door for New Zealand citizens who live in Australia to apply for Australian citizenship. Here’s the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on how the pathway works:

In acknowledgment of our special bilateral relationship, the Australian Government will provide an additional pathway to permanent residence, and therefore citizenship, for New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders who arrived after 26 February 2001, who have lived in Australia for the last five years and shown a commitment and contribution to Australia.   The additional visa pathway will be available from 1 July 2017, for New Zealand citizens who arrived post 26 February 2001, but on or before, the date of the announcement, 19 February 2016.

The pathway will be made available within the Skilled Independent category of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream of Australia’s annual Migration Programme.

To apply, SCV holders need to have been living in Australia for the past five years, and earned the Australian median income annually ($53,000) throughout their qualifying residence period. Applicants will be subject to the usual mandatory health, character, and security checks.

A visa application charge (VAC) of $3600 per primary applicant applies, with an additional $1800 for partners, $1800 per dependent child over 18 and $900 per child under 18. Applicants will only have to pay 20 per cent of the VAC when they lodge their application. The remainder must be paid before the visa is granted.

Here are the steps to become an Australian citizen:

  • New Zealanders taking advantage of this pathway will usually be able to apply for citizenship after one year of permanent residence, provided they meet the allowab​​le overseas absences requirement.
  • Note: This requirement means, a person must not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total in the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the year before applying
  • The usual citizenship eligibility requirements will apply such as: ​be of good character if 18 years of age or over, be likely to reside, or continue to reside, or maintain a close and continuing relationship to Australia, meet the identity requirement, pass the citizenship test if aged between 18 and 59 years or pass a citizenship interview.
  • Note: All applicants must submit a valid application and pay the relevant fee.

It is estimated that around 150,000 New Zealand SCV holders currently live and work in Australia. Of those, between 60,000 and 70,000 are expected to be eligible.​

[Via Department of Immigration and Border Protection]


    • The problem with that sentiment is that the Kiwi’s it refers to, like myself, are already here. We’ve had to have been contributing to taxes (good ol’ ATO) for at least 5 years, so far from mooching from the gov’t and people of Australia we’ve been contributing to it. It could be seen as a little payback for that. Now we get to vote and join the armed forces too :-/

      • I wasn’t being serious, kiwis are fine, you’re civilised to me, except for the sheep shagging shenanigans

        But I am serious about getting out of australia, this place is DOOMED

      • Is there any chance you were here on Feb 26th 2001 even on holiday, or for periods totalling 12 months in the two years prior? If you were you should be eligible to apply for citizenship. If not, were you in Australia at any time before Sept 1994 even for a short visit as a child? If you were you may be eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV). The fee is $360. The RRV is a permanent visa.

      • Im a kiwi from Dunedin in the beautiful place call Aotearoa how long does kiwi have to stay in Melbourne before I can go for permanent Australia reasdant and do I have to give up my nz passports to become an Australian permanent reasdant? Or can I just get my Australia passport straght away?

        • It’s not residency based. You have to be married to an Aussie, get employment sponsorship or go through the procedure everyone else has. The changes mentioned in the above article kick in from 1 July next year so depending on your circumstances it might be easier. You can be dual-citizen though AFAIK.

    • Not enough work in NZ for qualified people. NZ is beautiful but sucks, very few employment opportunities and very high cost of living. Australia will be better off with Kiwi workers than from other countries due to the similarity in culture, language and the fact that the Kiwis are probably the most hard working people on the planet, so good for both countries.

  • Welcome to Kiwi’s from the other side of “the ditch” ! Honestly I could have sworn I kept hearing about everyone leaving here (Aus) for NZ. Personally – not having been to NZ, I live in WA (Perth) and its OK ! Cheers….

  • About time, though it’s not really that special, as the cost is exactly the same as anyone else who applies for a PV. It looks to have just excluded the age and skill requirements, which if you’ve been working here for the last 5 years, you would have probably met anyway.

    So, this is simply the government charging the Kiwis for fulfilling their side of the Anzac promise, something they have dragged their feet on for the last few decades.

    Australians who go over to live in NZ don’t have to put up with the same shit Kiwis have to over here.
    They can vote, join the armed forces, get the dole, and do all the other things most citizens can over there, because the Kiwis didn’t conveniently forget their end of the deal.

    Call me cynical, but it just looks like another fund raiser similar to when Hong Kong was about to change hands.

  • I arrived in June 2011 so i am 4 months shy of my 5 year anniversary… however at the time of the announcement i had already earned over the $54k threshold for the financial year. Do you think i will be eligible? It seems not by the wording above so now I have to wait until next year when the next pathway is announced… Bugger! ?

  • As a Kiwi who has lived, worked and paid taxes in Australia for over 12 years (the majority of my working life), it is great to finally have this option available. The only question for me is whether it is worth the $3600 to do so in the near future, it’s a fairly significant amount of money for something that doesn’t necessarily bring any immediate personal benefit. I’m assuming the SCV conditions aren’t changing so I may just wait it out until my kids, who are already Australian citizens, are grown and I can justify the cost.

  • Is it a minimum of $54000 every year from time of application (which will be July 2018 since need a year of residency & this policy doesn’t come until July 2017) or can it be averaged over the 5 years to be the $54,000 needed per year?

    • I don’t know how this works if you fall below the $54000 annually. My hubby has worked for the same company since we arrived 2002. I worked up until 2 years ago when our youngest came along. I hope they consider situations like ours but most likely no.

    • I don’t know how this works if you fall below the $54000 annually. My hubby has worked for the same company since we arrived 2002. I worked up until 2 years ago when our youngest came along. I hope they consider situations like ours but most likely no.

  • $3600? that’s a bargain.
    try to bring over a parent. it’s $50k! if you want to do it before they grow old enough not to be able to travel

    • $50k for a parent ???? What are u talking about? I have two parents here now and paid $0 ??
      Anyway I feel this “Fast Track Aussi Citizenship Scheme” is just revenue gaining, I came here 1 year after the changes, have never been allowed (or needed) the Dole or any other Gov Benefit, I earn $120,000 pa, own 5 houses (through my own hard work) and pay huge $$$ in taxes, so I have no intention of now paying Malcolm Turnbull $3600 when I have already contributed ten’s of thousands to the Aussie economy. I agree with Dets, I can stay here as long as I like and love it 🙂 why should I pay more???

  • Does anyone know if the absence conditions apply to ‘partner’? if my partners travels overseas for over 90 consecutive days, what are implications? or Does it only apply to the main applicant?

    Does anyone know the answer to this?

  • What about 461 (partners of New Zealand citizen)? Are they also elegible for the new rules (earning $54000)?

  • Thanks for this RRV info. I was in AU for 1 week in 1990, so I guess that means I was granted PR on arrival back then. I also have a valid reason for leaving (being a minor I had to do what my parents said). So this is an avenue I will definitely persue, worth a try at $360 vs $3600. I just wish I’d knownknown about rrv earlier, they don’t tend to publicise this anywhere officially.

  • not related, is it still cheaper to fly to the US from NZ instead of Oz?

  • As a baby boomer, I find it incredible that this policy has ever been needed. In the old days, any subject of the Queen could become an Australian citizen just by registering as such, because we are all the same people really.

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