Direct Australian Citizenship for NZ Citizens
From 1 July 2023 New Zealand citizens who hold a non-protected Special Category Visa can apply for citizenship by conferral, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements.
New Policy for New Zealanders Living in Australia
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs announced a new direct pathway to Australian citizenship for eligible New Zealand citizens.
Changes in 2001 made it more difficult for New Zealanders in Australia to attain citizenship.
It has now been announced that from 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens living in Australia will have a direct pathway to Australian citizenship.
The direct pathway to citizenship would allow eligible New Zealanders to apply for Australian citizenship without having to first obtain a permanent visa. This would save them time and money, as well as reduce the administrative burden on the immigration system.
Special Category Visa
All Special Category Visa holders will be able to apply directly for citizenship without becoming permanent residents first, as long as they meet a four-year residence and other eligibility requirements.
This is a fair change for New Zealanders living in Australia, and brings their rights more in line with Australians living in New Zealand. This is consistent with our ambition to build a fairer, better managed and more inclusive migration system.
Many New Zealand citizens choose to live and contribute to Australia, so it is reasonable they have the opportunity to become Australian citizens and enjoy the rights and obligations that come from citizenship.
Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Albanese:
“Australia and New Zealand have a deep friendship, which has been forged through our history, shared values and common outlook.
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, I look forward to strengthening our relationship.”
“We know that many New Zealanders are here on a Special Category Visa while raising families, working and building their lives in Australia. So I am proud to offer the benefits that citizenship provides.”
Quotes attributable to Minister Clare O’Neil:
“Australians and New Zealanders share a special bond and it’s important that we reflect that in the way we treat New Zealand citizens who choose to make Australia home.
“Today’s changes will strengthen ties with our closest neighbour and will mean the many people already living and working in our communities can enjoy the benefits of citizenship.
“Anthony Albanese is ensuring the deep, strong connection between our two countries is reflected in how we treat Kiwis living in Australia.”
Quotes attributable to Minister Andrew Giles:
“Australia is a country built on citizenship. It is only fair the opportunity to become an Australian Citizen is made easier for our closest friends and allies.
“This announcement will make a significant difference to the lives of people already living and working and in our communities.”
Impact of the New Policy
The new policy is expected to have a positive impact on both Australia and New Zealand. For Australia, it would increase the number of skilled workers and taxpayers, as well as strengthen the social cohesion and diversity of the country. For New Zealand, it would reduce the risk of losing its citizens to Australia permanently, as well as improve the welfare and opportunities of its expatriates.
The new policy provides a direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia is a historic gesture that reflects the special relationship between the two countries. It is also a pragmatic and sensible solution that addresses the longstanding concerns and aspirations of many New Zealanders who call Australia home. It is hoped that this policy will foster greater mutual understanding and cooperation between Australia and New Zealand in the future.
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