1. Immigration

UPDATE: Pathway to Australian Citizenship for NZ Citizens

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UPDATE: Pathway to Australian Citizenship for NZ Citizens

On 22 April 2023, the Australian government announced a direct pathway to Australian citizenship for Kiwis. The new pathway surely eases the process to become an Australian citizen for Kiwis.

Find the summarized information below. 

Direct Pathway of Australian Citizenship for New Zealanders

The update shows that starting from 1 July 2023, all Kiwis living in Australia will have a direct pathway to lodge a citizenship application in Australia. 

While previously all Kiwis living in Australia were required to obtain a permanent residency first, the new pathway will not require you to do so as long as you:

  • have been residing in Australia for 4 years or more
  • hold a SCV subclass 444 after 26 February 2001
  • meet the other requirements for Australian citizenship application

The direct pathway of Australian citizenship for Kiwis will continuously applies, with effect from 1 July 2023:

  • For citizenship purposes, every New Zealand citizen with a SCV will be regarded as a permanent resident.
  • Citizens of New Zealand who receive a SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.
  • For citizenship purposes, New Zealand citizens who receive a SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022, are regarded as permanent residents as of that date.

The above changes are applicable to all Kiwis in Australia and to those Kiwis who are currently offshore, but held an SCV immediately before leaving Australia. 

Important note if you have a baby in Australia 

Children born to Kiwis as SCV holders will be impacted by the backdating of permanent residency for SCV holders. Any child of a SCV holder born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 may automatically obtain Australian citizenship at birth. Children who meet these requirements can apply for evidence of citizenship starting on 1 July 2023.

When will it come into effect?

Be noted that the changes on Australian citizenship for Kiwis are applicable from 1 July 2023. If you lodge your citizenship application before 1 July 2023, and you do not meet the eligibility criteria, the Australian government will refuse your application. You will not be entitled to a refund.

What leads to these changes? 

It is ideal that, given that many Kiwis choose to reside in Australia and make contributions here. So, they should have the chance of lodging Australian citizenship in Australia and enjoy the responsibilities and benefits that go along with it. 

Also, the change is reasonable for Kiwis residing in Australia and more closely aligns their rights with those of Australians residing in New Zealand. This is in line with the Australian government’s goal of creating a migration system that is more equitable, well-managed, and inclusive.

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