Australian Permanent Residency for NZ Citizens - Part 2
Australian Permanent Residency for NZ Citizens – Part 2
What are the options for Australian citizenship and permanent residency for New Zealanders in Australia?
As a New Zealander, you can travel to Australia and live here indefinitely with full work rights.
But did you know that as New Zealand citizens you are not automatically eligible for the full range of government benefits or to apply for Australian citizenship? You need to become an Australian permanent resident or citizen for certain government benefits.
Then, what are the options for Australian permanent residency for New Zealand citizens?
Earlier in Part 1, I mentioned in the article that there are largely four groups of New Zealanders when it comes to Australian permanent residency and citizenship options.
We then considered the first two groups of people in last week’s article and they were:
- Eligible New Zealand citizens; and
- those who arrived in Australia before 19 February 2016.
If you haven’t read our Part 1 article yet, please click here so that you can go and read it in your own time.
On the other hand, this article is particularly for you if you a New Zealander and you:
- Arrived in Australia before 1 September 1994; or
- Arrived in Australia after 19 February 2016
If you would like to know your Australian PR and citizenship options, continue on and I will explain them further in this article.
Step by step guide
Jay Son – Australian Immigration Lawyer
Jay Son, our principal migration lawyer and Director of Hummingbird Legal is based in Australia. Jay is admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. Jay is based in Australia and practises exclusively in Australian immigration law.
Jay is a strong migration advocate and has assisted many New Zealand citizens with their permanent residency and Australian citizenship options and is able to guide you through the entire process.
Jay is also highly experienced in complex visa cases as well as challenging government decisions in relation to Australian immigration law. He solves difficult migration matters and visa problems including the AAT appeals, visa refusals, visa cancellations, Schedule 3 partner visa criteria submissions, health waiver and character concerns.
If you want to learn more about Jay, click here.
#1 – Did you arrive in Australia before 1 September 1994?
The first group we will consider today is the group of New Zealand citizens who came to live in Australia before 1 September 1994.
If you fall within this category, you are considered an ‘exempt non citizen’ in Australia.
What this means is that you are considered permanent residents if you stayed in Australia or former permanent residents if you left Australia but you are returning to Australia again.
If you are an exempt non-citizen, in most cases, you should have the same social security entitlements as other Australian permanent residents. However you almost would not be able to apply for Australian citizenship straight away.
#2 – How can I apply for an Australian Citizenship if I am an exempt non-citizen?
There are essentially three ways to apply for Australian citizenship if you are an exempt non-citizen.
You are an eligible New Zealand citizen
This goes back a little bit to our Part 1 article under the heading (‘Am I an eligible New Zealand citizen?’) from last week where I explained the requirements to become an eligible New Zealand citizen Australia.
As a New Zealand citizen on a subclass 444 visa (Special Category visa), if you were in Australia on a certain date or residing in Australia for a certain period, you are considered an eligible New Zealand citizen, which means you are entitled to the same social security entitlements as other Australian permanent residents.
Now the additional benefit for eligible NZ citizens is that, in this case, you are also a permanent resident for citizenship purposes. This means you can also apply for Australian citizenship straight away.
Therefore, this is an option to apply for citizenship for New Zealanders in Australia, if you are an exempt non-citizen who is also an eligible New Zealand citizen.
Resident Return Visa (RRV)
Now, if you are not an eligible New Zealand citizen but you are an exempt non-citizen, you are considered former permanent residents. Therefore, you are entitled to request the Department of Home Affairs to reinstate your permanent residency by applying for Resident Return visa.
In order to satisfy the Resident return visa requirements as an exempt non-citizen, you will need to demonstrate strong compelling reasons for your absence in Australia and substantial ties of benefit to Australia. Therefore, your eligibility for this visa will depend on your unique circumstances.
If you are granted Resident Return visa, you will generally need to wait for further 12 months while holding this visa, and then you can apply for Australian citizenship. You will also need to satisfy the remaining criteria for citizenship including the general residence requirements and character requirements, etc.
General Permanent Residency Stream
If you are not an eligible New Zealand citizen but you are an exempt non-citizen but you do not satisfy the requirements for a resident return visa, you will need to go through the general permanent residency stream like everybody else.
I’ll explain this option in more detail in line with the permanent residency and citizenship options for the last group of New Zealanders which I’ll explain below.
#3 – Did you arrive in Australia after 19 February 2016?
Lastly, as a New Zealander living in Australia, if you initially came to live in Australia only after 19 February 2016, OR as we covered earlier, you are an exempt non-citizen who is not an eligible new Zealand citizen and you do not meet the resident return visa requirements, you will need to go through the general permanent residency stream like everyone else.
Generally speaking, you may consider some of following permanent residency options:
- Partner migration
- General skilled migration
- Employer sponsored migration
- Business or Investor migration
This is obviously less convenient way to obtain permanent residency and potentially Australian citizenship in Australia but there are still benefits of being a NZ citizen when it comes to these options. In many cases, you may be able to gain exemptions and/or concessions to satisfy the specific visa requirements for these visas, which are only available because you are a New Zealand citizen.
These are the options available for Australian citizenship and permanent residency for New Zealand citizens.
When it comes to the exemptions and/or concessions for New Zealanders which I just mentioned for the last group for those who arrived after 19 February 2016, there are actually quite a lot out there so it will be quite difficult to cover all of that in this short article.
However, largely speaking, if you:
- Have an Australian partner;
- you own a business in Australia; or
- you work for an Australian business in a skilled occupation
Please feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to assess your unique circumstances and help you identify these concessions and exemptions for your options to apply for permanent residency in Australia as well as Australian citizenship.
On the other hand, if you think you might fall under the other three groups (as below) which I explained earlier in this video as well as in last week’s video for visas and citizenship, such as:
- the subclass 189 visa New Zealand stream (subclass 189 NZ stream visa);
- resident return visa as an exempt non-citizen; or
- the Australian citizenship because you are an eligible NZ citizen,
Please feel free to get in touch with us to help you check your eligibility for these options thoroughly.
Depending on your individual circumstances, we will be able to advise you on your best course of action that is both cost effective, time saving and within consideration of your dependent family members as well.
Need More Immigration Tips and Information?
If you would like more tips about Australian immigration, visas and updates, sign up for our free immigration newsletter by clicking here.
We also have an educational YouTube channel about Australian immigration, ‘Hummingbird Legal – A Fresh Take on Migration Law by Jay Son’. This is where we provide practical tips, visa information and step by step guides on Australian immigration and updates.
You can visit our YouTube channel by simply clicking here. Subscribe to our channel and get the latest Australian immigration updates and news.