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Monday, April 22, 2024

Great News in 2023 for NZ Citizens resident in Australia

New Zealand Citizens in Australia have had a rough trot for a long time! Nearest neighbors, and despite the humor we get on like brothers. Always have. Yet they have not been able to apply for Australian Citizenship, despite contributing most to the prosperity of Australia and making homes here.

New Zealand Citizens are the only country whose citizens get a visa at the Australian border (ie a Subclass 444 Special Category Visa)! They can enter, and as long as they pass the character requirement (ie no criminal records) they can stay as long as they want, and may work. Many have been settled in Australia for decades.

However…….

The SC 444 remains a temporary visa! Yes, can work and stay…..BUT…..that’s always been “it”! No path to permanent residency for most (unless they go through the Skilled Visa pathway). And no chance at Citizenship! Permanently temporary, despite settling in Australia where they’ve raised families and established homes and businesses. Never seemed fair!

Well……everything has changed!

And can thank the current PM Mr. Albanese for that!

Australian Citizenship for long-term New Zealand citizens who are established residents

Yes, you heard it right! From 1st of July 2023, New Zealand Citizens who have been residing in Australia for four years or more are able to apply for Australian Citizenship, just like any other permanent resident. Even though they are TEMPORARY residents (ie the Subclass 444 Special Category Visa is a temporary visa), they are to be considered PERMANENT residents for the purpose of Australian Citizenship applications.

So what do NZ Citizens need?

  1. To be a holder of a Subclass 444 SCV for at least 4 years prior to the citizenship application
  2. To have not spent 12 months accumulatively outside Australia in the previous 4 years
  3. To have not spent 90 days in the previous 12 months (prior to the application) outside Australia
  4. You must pass the character requirement, which means checking for criminal records and whether you are a risk to Australia
  5. You must prove your identity
  6. And you need to pass the Citizenship Test

For most, this should be fairly easy.

Note that this is NOT an automatic process. It requires a properly prepared application, with solid evidence of all the above.

And of course Down Under Visa are here to manage your application for you.

Former Down Under Visa Clients. Who will benefit?

We have had a lot of clients over the years apply for Subclass 461 New Zealand Family Relationship Visas for their wives and de facto partners. To those who don’t know what this is? It’s been the ONLY pathway for a Subclass 444 holder to bring their wife or de facto partners to Australia.

The downside? Work rights, yes. But the 461 is also a temporary visa! No access to Medicare. Need to renew the visa after 5 years, and every 5 years from that. And NO pathway to Citizenship!

I can see many of these former clients of ours taking the plunge and becoming fully-fledged Australians with all the rights that go with that privilege, and being able to now apply for actual PARTNER VISAS for your wives and de facto partners to give them security in Australia.

Is this you? Is this your situation? Well, please go to https://assessments.downundervisa.com.au and select “Citizenship for Australian Permanent Residents and NZ Citizens”! I’ll assess your case and hopefully give you the good news!

Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa

Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in the Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relations and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humor that the average Aussie gets it! Down Under Visa specializes in visas for Australians in relationships with ladies and gents from the Philippines. Read MORE

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