On 22 April 2023, Australia unveiled a fresh pathway to citizenship for qualifying New Zealand citizens who have resided in Australia for a minimum of four years.
These modifications will take effect from 1 July of the same year and will be applied retrospectively.
According to Moving to Australia.co.nz,
The new law will apply to Kiwis on temporary, special category visas who have arrived since 2001 and lived in Australia for four years and meet the standard criteria for citizenship – such as an English test, demonstrating “adequate knowledge” of Australia, and including character checks and intention to reside in Australia.
The cost will be a standard processing fee of A$490 (about NZ$534), which is well below the current fees of over A$4000.
Children born in Australia since July 1, 2022, to a New Zealand parent living there, will also automatically be entitled to citizenship, making critical services available to them.
In a momentous policy shift, Australia announced on 1 July 2023 that New Zealand citizens who have been residing in the country for a minimum of four years will have the opportunity to apply directly for Australian citizenship. These groundbreaking changes eliminate the requirement for New Zealand citizens to first obtain a permanent visa, offering a retrospective pathway to dual citizenship. With significant implications for both individuals and their families, this new policy aims to address the long-standing issue of unequal treatment and provide enhanced rights and benefits for New Zealanders living in Australia.
Retrospective Dual Citizenship:
From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and have lived in the country for at least four years can now directly apply for Australian citizenship. This progressive approach enables eligible individuals to become dual nationals, enjoying the benefits and privileges of both Australian and New Zealand citizenship. Dual nationals have the right to hold passports from both countries, granting them access to social security payments, healthcare, voting rights, and numerous other advantages.
Permanent Residence for Citizenship Purposes:
The retrospective pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens residing in Australia is achieved through the backdating of their period of Australian permanent residence. By considering the SCV (Special Category Visa) as equivalent to Australian permanent residence, New Zealand citizens can meet the general residence requirement of four years, including a minimum of 12 months as a permanent resident, as stipulated by the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.
Key Provisions and Changes:
To better understand the impact of this historic policy shift, it is essential to highlight the key provisions and changes that come into effect from 1 July 2023:
Australian Permanent Residence: All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be recognized as Australian permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
Backdating of Permanent Residence: New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.
Recognition of SCV Holders: New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.
Benefits of Dual Citizenship:
Obtaining dual citizenship brings numerous advantages and opportunities for New Zealand citizens living in Australia. Some of the key benefits include:
Expanded Rights and Privileges: Dual citizens enjoy comprehensive rights and privileges, including access to social security payments, healthcare services, and voting rights in both countries.
Retained New Zealand Citizenship: Becoming an Australian citizen does not require renouncing New Zealand citizenship. Dual nationals can retain their New Zealand passport while enjoying the benefits of Australian citizenship.
Greater Security and Stability: Australian citizenship offers a sense of security and stability, enabling individuals to fully integrate into Australian society and participate in all aspects of national life.
Improved Opportunities: Dual citizens have access to broader employment opportunities and may experience improved socio-economic prospects, contributing to personal growth and success.
Implications for Children of SCV Holders:
Children born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to SCV holders are also impacted by these changes. They may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth, providing them with a host of opportunities and benefits. Eligible children can apply for evidence of citizenship starting from 1 July 2023.
Australia’s landmark decision to offer a direct pathway to citizenship for eligible New Zealand residents represents a significant step forward in strengthening the ties between the two nations. This historic policy change acknowledges the contributions and rights of New Zealanders living in Australia, rectifying long-standing inequalities and fostering a more inclusive society. By embracing dual citizenship, eligible individuals can unlock a range of benefits while maintaining their connection to New Zealand. These changes will have a profound and positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Zealand citizens residing in Australia, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing relationship between the two countries.