New Zealand Citizens get a new pathway to apply for Permanent Residence from 1 July 2017

New Zealand citizens who have lived in Australia for a continuous period of five years on or before the 19 February 2016 may be able to apply for the new Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream from 1 July 2017.

According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, to be eligible for the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream, you must:

  • Hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa;
  • Have been living in Australia for a continuous period of five years immediately before applying for the visa and started living here on or before 19 February 2016;
  • Earn a minimum taxable income stipulated by Immigration, for each fiscal year in the five years immediately before applying for the visa, which means AUD$53,900 each year since 2013/14 and AUD$51,000 specific for 2012/13;
  • Meet mandatory health, character and national security checks.

 

The Special Category (subclass 444) visa
Most New Zealand Citizens in Australia are holding this visa – except those who applied for permanent residence in the past or even obtained Australian Citizenship, having become dual citizens.

A lot of New Zealand Citizens however, don’t even know that they are holding this visa, as it doesn’t require an application per se and in most cases is granted upon arrival in Australia, except when people have a criminal record, in which case they need to apply for this visa (and be granted it) with the Australian Embassy in New Zealand.

Living in Australia
For the purposes of this visa, the applicant must be “usually resident” in Australia for those five required years, which means you must have a physical residence in Australia (where you eat, sleep and consider your home) and have an intention to continue to reside in Australia.

You can include the following people in your visa application:

  • Your partner/spouse;
  • Children, step children or your partner’s children and step-children

They will also have to do health, character and national security checks.

Income
If you weren’t earning the numbers above, you may still be eligible under a few waivers immigration has implemented for this visa. Please contact us so we can assess your circumstances.

Age
Although the maximum age for the Skilled Independent 189 (Points-tested) Stream has been reduced to 45 years old from 1 July 2017, the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream will have no age limit applicable.

Other pathways
New Zealand Citizens who arrived in Australia before 1994 might also be eligible for a Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157).

New Zealand Citizens who arrived in Australia prior to 26 February 2001 may already be considered a permanent resident for the purpose of applying for Australian citizenship.

If you are considering applying for the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream, or any other visa, please consult a Registered Migration Agent to find out if you meet all requirements.

Of course, we would like to invite you to consult with us, so please contact us if you want to find out if you qualify.

Please keep checking our blog and Facebook page for updates as the legislation for this visa has not been formally released yet.

Erica Carneiro
Co-Founder, Director and Registered Migration Agent 0532487

Sources:
http://www.border.gov.au/Visasupport/Pages/an-additional-pathway.aspx
http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Life/New- http://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/17nz