Australia: New pathway to residency for New Zealand citizens

From 1 July 2017, New Zealand nationals who were residing in Australia prior to February 19 2016 will be entitled to apply for permanent residency through a new pathway. 70,000 people may be eligible.

Australia: New pathway to residency for New Zealand citizens
Much of the immigration news out of Australia lately has been in the category of more bad news.However, one piece of good news for New Zealand nationals may have been eclipsed by the recent controversy surrounding the major changes to the 457 Visa program and permanent residency and citizenship rules.

A new stream under the Skilled Independent Category

Beginning July 1, a new pathway to permanent residence will open to New Zealand citizens who were residing in Australia prior to February 19, 2016.This new permanent residence visa pathway is being introduced as a new stream under the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Category and is open to New Zealand nationals who:
  • Were already holders of New Zealand Special Category Visas (SCV) (Subclass 444);
  • Were usually resident in Australia before February 19, 2016;
  • Have resided in Australia for at least five years at the time of application;
  • Have contributed to Australia – demonstrated by Australian income tax returns showing income of at least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) (currently AUD $53,900); and
  • Will pass mandatory health, character, and security checks.

Confirmation of ties between the two nations

This new permanent residence pathway is being implemented pursuant to a February 19 bilateral agreement between Australia and New Zealand signed prior to the surprise April 19 overhaul of Australia’s immigration system.With the recent controversy regarding immigration to Australia and the narrowing of pathways for many foreign nationals, this new PR pathway is a refreshing confirmation of the ties between the two nations.Australian government figures suggest that as many as 70,000 New Zealand nationals may be eligible for Australian permanent residency under this new program.This immigration update was produced by Pro-Link GLOBAL, the global immigration and visa services company.For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre