Australia

Visa rules for New Zealanders could shrink spots for overseas migrants

A special visa arrangement allowing New Zealanders living in Australia to obtain permanent residency under a migrant program may be reducing the intake for those based overseas.

A new visa pathway for New Zealanders already in Australia to obtain permanent residency could be shrinking opportunities for overseas immigrants, according to reports. 

The federal government in 2016 announced New Zealanders would now be allowed to apply for the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa if they’ve resided in Australia for at least five years.

It was designed to give Kiwis a pathway to become permanent Australian residents.

New Zealand citizens who are granted the visa are able to apply for Australian citizenship after a year.

In 2016-17, almost 60 per cent of people overseas were granted spots – the total allocation of which was 42,000.

Most of those who were granted the special visas came from India (14,484), China (6,071) and the UK (3,462) in 2016-17.

In the first eight months of the new arrangement, 9,000 Kiwis applied for the new visa, the ABC reports.

But that could rise to 10,000 this year, experts told the public broadcaster.

It comes after reports Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton sought to cut the permanent migration intake by 20,000.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dismissed the report, saying the claim was “false”.

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