Australia Takes Cream, Opens up Citizenship to Kiwis Currently in Australia


Good new today for migrants in NZ looking for permanency in Australia – there is now a path to citizenship for you.

The citizenship deal applies to those who hold a special category visa, the one that lets people stay and work in Australia for as long as they remain New Zealand citizens.

Turnbull said a special category visa holder who had been earning more than $54,000 a year – the current minimum pay for a skilled migrant – could seek to become an Australian citizen.

“This will enable a large number of New Zealanders who are here and have been working here for five years, to be able to apply for citizenship,” he said.

“They will obviously be subject to the usual health and security checks in the normal way. I think this is a very important recognition of the very close ties between Australia and New Zealand.”..source

What you heed to know

An additional pathway to permanent residence for ‘non-protected’ Special Category Visa (SCV) holders

Options for permanent residen​​ce for ‘non-protected’ SCV holders

In acknowledgment of our special bilateral relationship, the Australian Government will provide an additional pathway to permanent residence, and therefore citizenship, for New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders who arrived after 26 February 2001, who have lived in Australia for the last five years and shown a commitment and contribution to Australia.

This additional visa pathway will be available from 1 July 2017, for New Zealand citizens who arrived post 26 February 2001, but on or before, the date of the announcement, 19 February 2016.

How this p​​​athway will work

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will have responsibility for implementing the pathway.

The pathway will be made available within the Skilled Independent category of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream of Australia’s annual Migration Programme.

This pathway will allow SCV holders who have been living in Australia for the past five years, and have earned income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) as evidenced by their Australian Taxation Office Notice of Assessment throughout their qualifying residence period, to apply for permanent residency and thereafter citizenship.​

The pathway ​​requirements

Requirements for this visa pathway will include mandatory residence, contribution and community protection criteria.  This includes:

  • have been resident in Australia for the five years immediately prior to visa application
  • contributed to Australia, demonstrated through income tax returns (Notice of Assessment) for the period of residence evidencing taxable income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
  • mandatory health, character, and security checks.

Eligible applicants not in Australia the day of the announcement

If an applicant meets all relevant criteria and can demonstrate they were resident on the date of announcement, they will be eligible.

Estimated number of eligible applicants

Approximately 60,000 – 70,000 of the 140,000 post 2001 SCV holders who have been in Australia for at least five years are expected to be eligible.​

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) and eligibility

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) is a salary threshold used by the 457 programme as an indicator that an occupation is skilled and to ensure that a visa holder has reasonable means of support whilst in Australia.  It is curr​​ently set at AUD53,900.

Setting the eligibility threshold at the TSMIT ensures we are providing a pathway to prospective citizens who can make a strong contribution to Australia’s future.

This is consistent with the economic objectives of Australia’s Migration Programme, as it takes into account a level of contribution based on income tax returns.

Enabling Special Category visa holders to supply evidence from tax returns provides a concession to requirements relative to citizens of other countries, as it does not duplicate existing government requirements and is not onerous, but provides clear evidence of contribution.

This represents a clear concession over existing migration pathways.  It reflects the ease of mobility under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA), while retaining a focus on skilled migration through a demonstrated contribution to Australia’s income tax system.

E​xemptio​ns to the income test

Limited exemptions to the income test requirement will be considered for particularly vulnerable New Zealand citizens.  The mandatory residence criterion, including all other relevant criteria, will still need to be met before a visa could be granted.

Details of how applications for exemptions to the income test will be assessed will be determined between the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister for Social Services.

Who will be considered a vulnerable individual​

This level of detail will be determined between the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister for Social Services. The mandatory residence criterion would still apply in these circumstances.

  • As an example, possible vulnerable individuals may include the primary carer of children who, for reasons of a court order are unable to return to New Zealand with their children, and who as an SCV holder is unable to access working age payments.

Will an applicant who has been on maternity/paternity leave during the qualifying period be ineligible if their income fell below the required threshold during that period?​

If the applicant continued to be employed during that period, DIBP may take that into account and have the capacity to consider other proof of income, for example, a statement from the applicant’s employer covering the period in question.

This level of detail will be worked through by DIBP during implementation of the measure, noting that there is no intention to disadvantage applicants with a consistent record of income and employment but who have taken periods of parental leave.

Visa application charg​​​e (VAC)​

There will be concessions to the visa application charge (VAC) solely for New Zealand citizens to better reflect the freedom of movement and right of abode they enjoy under the TTTA by:

  • The visa application charge will be consistent with the General Skilled Migration Programme: AUD3,600 per primary applicant with an additional AUD1,800 for partners, AUD1,800 per dependent child over 18 and AUD900 per child under 18.
  • Applicants will only have to pay 20 percent of the VAC when they lodge their application, with the remainder to be paid before the visa is granted.

Steps to become an Australian citizen

  • New Zealanders taking advantage of this pathway will usually be able to apply for citizenship after one year of permanent residence, provided they meet the allowab​​le overseas absences requirement.
  • Note: This requirement means, a person must not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total in the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the year before applying
  • The usual citizenship eligibility requirements will apply such as:
    • ​be of good character if 18 years of age or over
    • be likely to reside, or continue to reside, or maintain a close and continuing relationship to Australia
    • meet the identity requirement
    • pass the citizenship test if aged between 18 and 59 years or pass a citizenship interview.
  • Note: All applicants must submit a valid application and pay the relevant fee.

What if someone ​arrived in Australia the day before, or on the day of the announcement, will they be eligible to apply in five years’ time?

Yes. They could apply, but the grant of a visa will depend on whether they meet all relevant criteria.

Will the visa application charge (VAC)​ be reduced for the Con​tributory Parent visa?

No.  source


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20 thoughts on “Australia Takes Cream, Opens up Citizenship to Kiwis Currently in Australia

  1. I can’t wait. We are coming soon and hope the doors stay open. I just had 3 interviews in one week over there and here non in a half year. Here is no future and I really didn’t wanted to count the sheepish.

  2. The NZ and OZ Government should simply form a coalition. Realistically, NZ is just an island, 3hrs flight from Sydney. To put this in perspective, Perth is 6hrs flight away..Open the borders, get people moving around, centralise everything if they want, police would have better data sharing. It would still be called “New Zealand” and “Australia”, like Trinidad & Tobago. Same passports, same driving licenses, same healthcare, same pension. Ditch the Treaty of Waitangi, give all citizens equal rights..

    Then they can have a new flag! 🙂

    I’m dreaming I know..

    • Sorry to say it but you are dreaming. Have you been following the bodies in the box murders in Queensland. Not to mention the cowards punch killings – one in the Valley, one in Southport. Then there is Lionel Patea, then Lionel Patea and his cousin. Then the road rage punch. Then the kiwi bikie gangs. They have all happened in Queensland in the last six months.

      • Is New Zealand going through its teenage rebellion years? It seems more like it is going through that stage that toddlers go through: the terrible twos.

        • I can’t help but notice the amount of cold cases related to the murder of young females in the 70s/ 80s/90s. On top of that are all the high profile ‘solved’ cases. We get told that violence is a new phenomenon in NZ but I suspect that there have been sinister under currents for a long time.

      • I see the Mongrel Mob has just opened a new chapter on the Gold Coast,getting around wearing their gangsta outfits which read,Mongrel Mob Aotearoa,unbelievable,imagine going to another country and wearing a gang outfit and your country of origin ,try that in the U.S ,China ,Russia or anywhere else for that matter.I very much doubt that this is the “cream” ,that Australia wants to keep,no doubt they’ll be getting an Australian tax payer funded return ticket before long and things will be even tougher for legitimate N.Zers seeking to escape N.Z.

    • That would be very practical ,so by doing this we would no longer subsidise thousands of government jobs here (might meet some resistance there),your plan would involve abolishing the apartheid system in N.Z (waitangi treaty),seems to make complete sense and therefore it will never happen.

      • Hi Michael,there are a lot of N.Z people who have spent many years outside this country gaining significant skills and experience in life and work ,hope you won’t tar us all with the same brush

  3. Why has this news come around the same time as deporting kiwis of bad character back to new zealand. Omg the spin continues

  4. John Key’s constant pleading on behalf of the Kiwis in Australia is redolent of the begging of Mexican Presidents on behalf on behalf of the illegal immigrants in the United States. This should give readers an idea of New Zealand’s economic stature as an economically backward country where young people must immigrate to the wealthier and more prosperous neighbour across the Tasman.

    What the Kiwi media ignores is that John Key’s deal is similar to the normal process for Australian permanent residency applications already available to New Zealanders and to everyone else. The problem is that most Kiwis are too lazy and stupid to follow the existing process. The mere fact that New Zealand citizens are eligible for special category visas that allow them to work in Australia enables many to obtain the necessary employment that is often a prerequisite for permanent residency applications. Not much has changed on a practical level except that many Kiwis are now aware of this process.

    Incidentally, check out how well New Zealanders do on the Australian citizenship test. The education system in New Zealand must truly be appalling if New Zealanders score worse than Ethiopians on what is a very simply exam that anyone with two brain cells should be able to pass.

    “despite being typically considered the nation that is culturally closest to Australia, applicants for citizenship from New Zealand are shown to be among the world’s worst performers on the test. New Zealanders were shown to score an average of 72.6% on the test designed to determine an applicant’s cultural and historical knowledge about the country in which they are applying to live.
    This score places New Zealanders 1.4% behind citizens from the impoverished nation of Ethiopia, and only slightly above applicants from the conflict-ravaged countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Applicants from Sweden scored the highest on the test with an average score of 98.1% on the citizenship test, over 25% higher than their New Zealand counterparts.”

    • Most likely they fail the test due to a reluctance to study for it ,comes down to arrogance again ,N.Z people have been treated so well in Australia that they now take their host countries hospitality for granted,even if I never go live in Australia I would feel more comfortable knowing that option was available to me ,unfortunately some of our scum kiwis are screwing it up for everybody,seems they are not aware of how privileged they are to be allowed to live and work in Australia.

      • mcleodkiwitony,

        “….how privileged they are to be allowed to live and work in Australia.”

        Yes, exactly and some still whine. I’ve only ever noticed one article by a Kiwi journalist who really took a realistic view i.e. Kiwis shouldn’t ‘bite the hand that feeds them’, or perhaps, more accurately, the hand that ‘holds the door open’. No other foreign citizens are granted the privilege.

  5. Although I’m not a supporter of the hare-brained trans Tasman migration agreement, I’ll concede that something had to be done to remedy the situation for those New Zealanders who had been unfairly treated by bureacratic regulations. Taking the ‘cream’ is an accurate description of the policy since the number of Kiwis eligible seems to be a relatively small proportion of the total in Australia.

    There are two questions, how many Kiwis will accept the offer and what’s the status of the other 500,000+ NZ citizens in Australia?
    I noticed that at the press conference a NZ journalist just had to have a whine about Australia’s policy of deporting Kiwi criminals.

  6. That’s good news! Pitty we just can apply for permanent residents. I would have left yesterday otherwise! :p

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