For many New Zealanders, Australia is not only a place to visit but also their home. In 2019, it was reported that approximately 685,000 New Zealand residents were living in Australia. The special relationship between Australia and New Zealand saw the introduction of the Tran-Tasman Travel Arrangement way back in 1973. As such, there are a variety of visa options available to our New Zealand friends that enable them to work, live and study in Australia.
Special Category Visa (Subclass 444)
The subclass 444, Special Category Visa (SCV) allows holders to visit, study and stay in Australia as long as they remain New Zealand citizens. This visa is applied for upon arrival in Australia when the incoming passenger card is submitted with a New Zealand passport. It is automatically issued subject to meeting health and character requirements. Holders of this visa can be either protected or non-protected SCV-holders.
If you are a New Zealand citizen who first arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001, you are a non-protected SCV-holder. As a non-protected SCV-holder, you are not considered an Australian resident for social security purposes nor are you eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
If you arrived in Australia on 26 February 2001, arrived in the two years immediately prior to this date or were assessed as a protected SCV-holder before 26 February 2004 then you are a protected SCV-holder. If you meet these requirements and live in Australia, you are considered an Australian resident for social security purposes and are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after residing in Australia for 4 years.
This is a single-entry visa and is valid from the date it is granted until the date you leave Australia.
Skilled Independent Visa – New Zealand Stream (Subclass 189)
This visa enables eligible New Zealand citizens who have made a contribution and demonstrated a commitment to Australia to live and work in Australia permanently. In order to apply for this visa, applicants must:
- Hold a subclass 444 visa
- Have lived in Australia for the last five years
- Have started living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016
- In most cases, have a taxable income at or above a specific income threshold for each of the four completed financial years prior to lodging the application
Holders of a subclass 189 visa can:
- Stay in Australian indefinitely
- Work and study in Australia
- Enrol in Medicare
- Sponsor relatives to come to Australia
- Travel to and from Australia for five years
- If eligible, become an Australian citizen
Other pathways to permanent residence for New Zealanders
While the two visas above are the most common avenues for New Zealand citizens to explore when coming to Australia, New Zealanders holding employer sponsored visas such as the subclass 494 and 186 may also be eligible for permanent residency. To learn more about employer sponsored visas visit, https://www.visasolutions.com.au/news-blog/posts/just-landed-the-skilled-employer-sponsored-regional-provisional-visa.
Are New Zealand citizens on these visas eligible for Job Keeper and Job Seeker benefits in Australia?
It’s no secret that since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Australia, a lot of people living in Australia are struggling financially. New Zealand citizens residing in Australia may be able eligible for Job Keeper and Job Seeker payments under certain circumstances.
A New Zealander who holds a subclass 444 and was a resident for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020 may be eligible for Job Keeper payments.
New Zealand citizens may be eligible for Job Seeker for six months if they hold a Subclass 444 and have lived in Australia continuously for at least 10 years prior to claiming.
If you would like to learn more about the visas available to New Zealand citizens or any other aspect of migration, contact the Visa Solutions team on 1800 828 008.