new-zealand

Most New Zealand citizens have special status in Australia.

Briefly,

  • Those in Australia before 1 September 1994 may be a permanent residents.
  • Those in Australia since before 26 February 2001 are probably eligible to sponsor immediate family and fiancés as if they were permanent residents.
  • New Zealanders who arrived in Australia for the first time after 26 February 2001 normally get a visa with unlimited temporary residence and work rights.

If a New Zealand Citizen has a partner and/or dependents who are not New Zealand Citizens, there are visa options for these close family members.

Australia changed it’s laws on 1 September 1994.

New Zealand Citizens living in Australia prior to 1 September 1994 may be:

  • Permanent residents of Australia
  • Eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship
  • Able to sponsor family just the same as any other Australian resident

A New Zealand citizen who was in Australia prior to 1 September 1994, but then left may be able to regain permanent resident status. These cases can be complex. If this effects you, please contact us to discuss it.

Australian Government changed it’s laws relating to New Zealand Citizens on 26 February 2001.

New Zealand Citizens living in Australia on/before 26 February 2001 are called “Eligible New Zealand Citizens” and often have special status in Australia. They can sponsor their fiancé, spouse or partner for permanent residence in Australia. Married, de facto and same-sex couples can apply. Dependents can be included. Applications can be made in Australia or overseas. Refer to our pages about the Prospective Marriage Visa (fiancé visa) and Partner Migration for details.

Every time a New Zealand Citizen enters Australia and shows their New Zealand passport they are applying for a Special Category Visa (sub class 444). This tends to be approved automatically as long as the Australian Government has no concerns about the person’s health or character.

You can sponsor your spouse or de facto partner (but not fiancé) and dependents to Australia, but the visa is only temporary residence. Read the section below about the ‘New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa’.

A Special Category Visa (sub class 444) never becomes permanent residence. This can cause serious challenges including:

  • Children are treated as foreign students for tertiary education in Australia (must pay very costly up-front fees to study).
  • No eligibility for pensions (and many other welfare benefits).
  • No security in the long term.

We strongly recommend that you seek a permanent residence solution as soon as possible.

This visa is for people who are not New Zealand Citizens, but are in a committed relationship with a New Zealand citizen. Married couples and de facto couples (both heterosexual and same-sex) are eligible. Children who are not New Zealand Citizens may be included in the visa. The process and rules are quite similar to those for Partner Migration.

The New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship Visa is not permanent residence. It lasts for 5 years. It can be renewed as long as the relationship continues to exist.

This visa never becomes permanent residence. This can cause serious challenges including:

  • Children are treated as foreign students for tertiary education in Australia (must pay very costly up-front fees to study)
  • No eligibility for pensions (and many other welfare benefits)
  • No security in the long term (if the relationship with the New Zealander ends, or the New Zealander deceases, then eligibility for this visa is lost)

We strongly recommend that you seek a permanent residence solution as soon as possible.