New Zealanders who have lived and worked in Australia for five years or more will get easier access to citizenship under a new deal.
An Australian government amnesty will open the door to citizenship for between 60,000 to 100,000 Kiwi expats living and working across the Tasman.
The move was announced on the 19th February 2016 after a two-hour long meeting in Sydney between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Prime Minister John Key.
The changes will enable those who have resided in Australia for five years or more and during that time earned income in excess of the temporary skills migration income threshold, which is about $54,000 AUD a year. The Australian government estimates about 60,000 to 70,000 people will be eligible for the new pathway, available from July 2017. It applies only to special category visa holders who arrived in the country between February 2001 and the day of the announcement. More than 300,000 New Zealanders are thought to be living in Australia on special category visas.
However, the amnesty is retrospective and will not apply to new arrivals – meaning Kiwis arriving as of today will not benefit from the breakthrough agreement.
Please continue to check back on our blog as Visa Australia will keep you updated as to when this becomes law.
If you have any questions regarding your visa application or becoming an Australian citizen, please don’t hesitate to contact our migration team.