Streamlined pathway to Australian permanent residence for New Zealand Citizens


The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced an additional pathway to permanent residence for 'non-protected' Special Category visa (SCV) holders from 01 July 2017.

In acknowledgement of the special bilateral relationship, the Australian government will provide a pathway to permanent residence, and therefore citizenship for New Zealand SCV holders who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and who have lived in Australia for 5 years and shown a commitment and contribution to Australia.

At present, New Zealand citizens that have entered Australia on a SCV (subclass 444) are able to remain indefinitely but are not able to sponsor relatives or become Australian citizens unless they qualified for permanent residence.

The pathway will be made available within the Skilled Independent category of the General Skilled Migration stream of Australia's annual migration programme and it is estimated that between 60,000 - 70,000 New Zealanders in Australia will be eligible under these new arrangements.

The additional visa pathway will be available for New Zealand Citizens who arrived post 26 February 2001, but on or before the date of announcement on 19 February 2016 or New Zealand Citizens who were not in Australia on 19 February 2016 but can demonstrate they were resident as well as meeting all relevant criteria.  New Zealand Citizens who arrived in Australia on the day before the announcement or on the day of the announcement will have to wait for 5 years before they apply for permanent residence.

Key criteria includes:

  • Have been resident in Australia for the 5 years immediately before the visa application
  • Taxable income of at least A$53,900 but with some exemptions for vulnerable people
  • Mandatory health and character checks

There will also be concessions for New Zealand Citizens when paying the Visa Application Charge with only 20% of the total fee due on lodgement of the visa application and the balance due before the visa is granted.

New Zealanders will also be able to apply for Australian citizenship after 1 year of permanent residence providing they have not been absent from Australia for more than 1 year in total in the 4 year period including no more than 90 days in the year before applying.








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