From 1 July 2017, there is a new pathway for New Zealand citizens living in Australia to gain permanent residency status and the Australia Citizenship.
This new pathway is within the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa.
To qualify for the new visa you must:
- hold a Special Category Subclass 444 visa
- have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of five years immediately prior to application, and have commenced that period of usual residence on or before 19 February 2016
- have a taxable income at or above an income threshold for each income year in the five years prior to lodging an application, unless you can claim an exemption
- meet mandatory health, character and national security checks
You can include you partner, your child and step child or your partners child or step child in the application.
The income threshold is $53,900.00 per year. The exemptions to the income test are for Special Category Subclass 444 visa holders who are prevented by an Australian authority from leaving Australia to return to New Zealand. This includes:
- the Family Court of Australia assigning primary care of a child to a New Zealand citizen and placing restrictions on that New Zealand citizen from removing the child from Australia; or
- where a New Zealand citizen is receiving compensation for an injury and is unable to continue earning at or above the income threshold, and if they returned to New Zealand their ongoing rehabilitation and/or compensation would be discontinued.
A waiver to the income requirement applies for periods of maternity, paternity or carers leave during the qualifying period. An assessment of this waiver will be undertaken on a case-by-case basis and will take into consideration whether the applicant resumes (or intends to resume) earning an income at or above the income threshold within a reasonable timeframe.
The application fee for the main applicant is $3,670.00, $1,835 for an additional applications over 18 years of age and $920 for any additional applicant under 18 years of age. Concessions to the VAC have been made solely for the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream. At the time of lodgment, only 20 per cent of the total VAC needs to be paid. The remaining 80 per cent must be paid before grant.
What to do to gain citizenship after Australian permanent residency?
After four years as a permanent resident you will be eligible to apply for citizenship if you satisfy the requirements to be granted Australian Citizenship by conferral.
Visa Australia have assisted hundreds of New Zealand Citizens obtain both Permanent Residency and Citizenship. There are a range of other options that could also apply to your individual circumstances and our expert team will be more than happy to assist you. Contact our team of Registered Migration Agents today.