Important information for New Zealand Citizens living in Australia on 444 Subclass

The Subclass 444 Special Category is a temporary visa, and it allows a New Zealand citizen to remain indefinitely in Australia to live, work or study. It is issued when you enter Australia.

The Subclass 444 is not a permanent visa and visa holders do not have the same rights and benefits as Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents.

Neither Australian permanent residents nor Subclass 444 holders are able to:

  • vote in Australian government elections
  • access student loans
  • join the Australian Defence Force

To be eligible for this visa you will need to be

1. New Zealand citizen holding a New Zealand passport that is in effect and

2. meet specific health and character requirements and

3.  upon arrival into Australia present a completed incoming passenger card

It is valid from the time of the grant up until the time of departure from Australia.

Work Rights for NZ Citizens in Australia

Holders of Special Category Subclass 444 Visas have unrestricted work rights in Australia and can work full time.

If you are convicted of a criminal offence in Australia

If you are convicted of a criminal offence or otherwise breach the Department’s character provisions, the Department of Home Affairs has the power to cancel your visa. Before the Department commences the process of cancellation, it will issue a ‘Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC)’ and request your responses/explanations to the notice.

Should you provide a reasonable explanation and persuade the Department NOT to cancel your visa subclass 444, you will be able to continue living and working in Australia. However, it’s important you understand that this is only a temporary visa and it ceases when you leave Australia.

If you’re a Kiwi currently living in Australia on a subclass 444 visa, you should be aware of potential issues that can arise if you are convicted of a criminal offence or have previous convictions that haven’t been declared before.

Previous Convictions Not Disclosed

If you’ve entered Australia previously on a subclass 444 visa and you did not disclose criminal convictions from overseas (even if they are considered ‘spent’ convictions), you may run into problems if you have to leave Australia and try to re-enter, as the Department of Immigration now has the facilities to check your criminal history (including ‘spent’ convictions).

For ALL Subclass 444 visa holders

Should the Department of Home Affairs confirm that you do not meet the character criteria to enter Australia you may face the following scenario:

  • When you leave Australia even for a short time (e.g. to go back to New Zealand to see family), you will no longer hold that same subclass 444 visa and so when you re-enter Australia a new 444 visa will be issued upon arrival.
  • Once you are confirmed to be a person with character concerns, you will no longer be eligible for a subclass 444 visa as you will be unable to meet the character requirements. You may consider other visa options to Australia.
    However, bear in mind, you may still be refused for other visa applications, due to the failure of meeting character criteria.

Family Members

Family members, travelling together, who are New Zealand citizens are granted their own Subclass 444 as an individual applicant.

There are four potential ways for non-New Zealand citizen family members of New Zealand citizens to enter, or remain in, Australia:

1. Apply for a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa, Subclass 461. This is a temporary five-year renewable visa;

2.  If your New Zealand citizen family member is eligible for permanent residence, you as a dependent family member can be included as a secondary applicant.

3.  If your New Zealand citizen family member becomes an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen, the family member/s could apply for a visa with sponsorship by the family head (eg a Spouse or Child visa) or

4. Apply for a visa independently (e.g. a skilled visa, an employer nominated visa, regional employer sponsored visa). The family member will need to meet the criteria for the relevant subclass of visa applied for.

How do I obtain a document to show my current visa status?

You can use VEVO to check your visa details and conditions and to send proof of your visa conditions to others, for example, employers, landlords or the government of a country you would like to visit.

Learn how to use VEVO

Do not remember your reference number?

New Zealand Citizens claiming payments in Australia

Migration Agents are not able to advise your eligibility to receive Australian Benefits.

However, you may find useful the following links:

Permanent Resident and Citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia

What you need to do to become an Australian citizen depends on when you arrived:

  • On or before 26 February 2001: Check if you are an eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • After 26 February 2001  & before 19 February 2016: You must first become a permanent resident. Then you can apply for citizenship.

Would you like to know more about your prospects for a visa?

Eligibility is the most important step in determining whether a person may meet the legal criteria for a visa application and one consultation could save you money.

Before any immigration advice can be provided, we must hold an initial consultation which will attract a fee of $385.

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