16 March-2016

Australia Immigration: New Pathway for New Zealand Citizens to Obtain Permanent Residence in Australia

The Australian Government recently announced that as of July 1, 2017, New Zealand citizens will be able to take advantage of a new Australia immigration pathway to permanent residence and ultimately citizenship in Australia, provided they meet certain criteria. The Australian Government has created this in conjunction with the special bilateral relationship that Australia has with New Zealand. Below, we will enlighten you on this pathway.

Who Is Eligible for the Pathway?

Eligible applicants for the new pathway will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a holder of a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV).
  • Must have arrived in Australia post 26 February 2001.
  • Lived in Australia for the past five years with a proven commitment to contributing to the country in a positive manner.
  • Earning an annual salary within the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which currently is $53,900, or taxable income through personal tax returns.
  • Undergo mandatory security, character and health checks.
  • Applicants must be in residence in Australia on or before the day of this pathway announcement, which was 19 February 2016.

The Inner Workings of the Pathway

The implementation of the pathway falls on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. It will be available through the General Skill Migration (GSM) under the Skilled Independent category of the country’s annual Migration Programme. The pathway will enable SCV holders who meet all the required criteria to apply for a permanent residency in Australia and eventually Australian citizenship as well.

Who Is Exempt from the Income Test?

Certain vulnerable citizens of New Zealand will be exempt from the income test. The Minister of Social Services and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will decide on each application for exemption on an individual basis. The exempted applicants will still need to meet the mandatory residence requirement.

How to Receive Approval of Australian Citizenship

We feel that most New Zealanders who receive approval of permanent residency through this new pathway will apply for Australian citizenship one year later if they adhere to the requirement of the allowable overseas absence. This means the applicants for citizenship should be absent from the country no longer than 12 months within a four-year period. In addition, they must not be absent longer than 90 days in the 12 months prior to applying for Australian citizenship. Of course, all applicants also will need to qualify under the standard requirements for eligibility for citizenship.

The above is a brief synopsis of the new Australia immigration pathway for New Zealand citizens to gain permanent residence in Australia. For further information, consult with James Tan Immigration Consultants as we are the experts on the topic of immigration to Australia.

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