New Zealand citizens are able to travel to Australia and remain here indefinitely with full work rights.
However, they are not necessarily eligible for Australian permanent residency or citizenship.
Dependent on the date of your arrival into Australia determines your eligibility for permanent residency or Australian citizenship.
Obtaining Permanent Residence gives New Zealand citizens a much more secure status in Australia and access to a range of government benefits. If you’ve arrived in Australia after 19 February 2016 and haven’t lived in Australia prior to this, there are no special pathways for you to obtain permanent residency except the same channels as all other temporary residents.
If you are a New Zealand citizen, you would generally receive a Special Category Subclass 444 on arrival to Australia.
Whilst this visa allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely with full work rights it is considered a temporary visa.
If you are convicted of a serious offence as a Subclass 444 holder requiring imprisonment of at least 12 months, it may result in potentially being barred from further entry into Australia and either be put in immigration detention or barred.
If you were present in Australia prior to 25 February 2001, you are considered an “Eligible” New Zealand citizen. In this case, you will have the same rights as an Australian permanent resident, can apply for Australian citizenship and have the ability to sponsor relatives.
The Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream allows for eligible New Zealand citizens who were usually resident prior to 19 February 2016, to apply for permanent residency.
You are required to have lived in Australia for five years and have a taxable income at or above a specific income threshold for each of the required income years prior to lodging an application
The following changes to the New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa came into effect on Saturday 10 December 2022. The stream has been temporarily closed to new applications and the regulations have been amended to enable the streamlined processing of the on-hand caseload. The temporary closure means an application cannot be made from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023.
This is a temporary pause on new applications while the Government considers future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens in Australia. During this period, the Department of Home Affairs will seek to finalise the majority of on-hand applications in the New Zealand stream and has established a dedicated taskforce to prioritise the processing of this caseload.
The majority of New Zealand stream 189 visa applicants have been waiting several years for their visa application to be finalised due to the limited number of places allocated to this group in recent years.
For further information see: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/what-we-do/skilled-migration-program/recent-changes
There is a permanent employer sponsored visa which has concessions for New Zealand citizens working in Australia. There is a specific pathway for New Zealand citizens who have worked for an Australian employer for two out of the past three years, immediately prior to the lodgement of an application, who are working in an occupation on the Medium-Long Term Stream.
New Zealand citizens can obtain a Subclass 461 New Zealand Family Relationship visa for their partners and children. This is a five-year temporary visa with full work rights with the possibility of renewal.
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.Book a Consultation