The new visa pathway will be available from 1 July 2017.
The members of NZ-Australia Punjabi Cultural Association have welcomed the launch of a new pathway for New Zealanders to gain citizenship in Australia.
The pathway is for special visa holders who were usually resident in Australia on or before 19 February 2016 and who, at the time of lodging an application, have resided in Australia for at least five years.
Onkar Singh, President, NZ-Australia Punjabi Cultural Association told SBS Punjabi that new pathway will help eligible Kiwis establish more firmly in the Australian society.
“In the last 15-20 years, many Kiwis families have settled in Australia. The new pathway will help them avail opportunities that are only available to Australian citizens and permanent residents,” said Mr Singh.
On 19 February 2016, the Australian Government announced a streamlined pathway to Australian permanent residence, for many New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for at least five years and shown a commitment and continuous contribution to Australia.
On arrival in Australia, most New Zealand citizens are automatically granted a Special Category visa (SCV).
An SCV is a temporary visa, but it allows the holder to remain and work in Australia. Any applicant who was present in Australia on 26 February 2001 as the holder of an SCV might be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
The new pathway is for New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) holders who were usually resident in Australia on or before 19 February 2016 and who, at the time of lodging an application, have resided in Australia for at least five years.
New Zealand citizens who are granted this new visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after a period of 12 months in addition to the five years as an eligible New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) holders.
These new arrangements will give many New Zealand citizens permanent residence status, if they meet certain criteria, including:
- contributing to Australia, demonstrated through income tax returns which show taxable income at least equivalent to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for the qualifying period; and
- meeting mandatory health, character and security checks.
The Australian and New Zealand Governments have had arrangements in place since the 1920s to facilitate a free flow of people between the two countries.
The 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement has allowed Australian and New Zealand citizens to enter each other's country to visit, live and work, without the need to apply for authority to enter the other country before travelling.
On 26 February 2001, the Australian Government announced that New Zealand citizens arriving after 26 February 2001 are required to apply for and be granted a permanent visa if they wish to access certain social security payments, obtain Australian citizenship or sponsor their family members for permanent residence.
At 30 June 2013, an estimated 640, 770 New Zealand citizens were present in Australia.
For more details visit DIBP Website - Fact sheet - New Zealanders in Australia.