Kiwis offered new chance of citizenship in Australia

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English is welcoming the launch of a new pathway for New Zealanders to gain citizenship in Australia, which starts tomorrow (1st July).

New Zealanders who arrived in Australia between 26th February 2001 and 19th February 2016 will now be eligible for permanent residence, then citizenship, if they meet the following criteria:

– Hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (automatically issued to all New Zealanders on arrival, unless they have already applied for a permanent visa);

– Have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of five years immediately prior to application, and have commenced that period of usual residence on or before 19 February 2016;

– Have a taxable income at or above an income threshold for each income year in the five years prior to lodging an application (unless claiming an exemption); the income threshold is currently set at AUS$53,900;

– Meet mandatory health, character and national security checks; and

– Lodge a visa application and pay the relevant visa application charges. Applications for permanent residence will cost AUS$3,670 for a primary applicant, AUS$1,835 for an adult dependent, and $AUS920 for a child dependent. At the time of lodgement, only 20 per cent of the total visa application charge needs to be paid. The remaining 80 per cent must be paid before grant.

“Many hard-working Kiwis have made Australia their home, and in doing so have been making a significant contribution to Australia’s society,” said Prime Minister English. “I am pleased that the Australian government recognises the value of this contribution and has delivered on its commitment to make it easier for eligible New Zealanders to apply for citizenship.

“Applying for Australian citizenship does not mean losing New Zealand citizenship. It simply means they can enjoy the same rights and entitlements as other Australians.

“Not all New Zealanders living in Australia will be eligible for the pathway and our government remains committed to discussing issues faced by those New Zealanders on non-protected special category visas,” the PM added.

It is estimated that more than half of New Zealanders who arrived between 26 February 2001 and 19 February 2016 in Australia and have been resident for over five years will be eligible for citizenship through the pathway.

Article published 30th June 2017