Moving to Australia from New Zealand?

Get all information you need to make a successful and stress-free move across the ditch.

As a New Zealand citizen moving to Australia, you will usually automatically receive a Special Category Visa (SCV) when you pass through Australian border control.

This visa gives New Zealanders many of the same rights as Australian citizens. However, you should be aware of a number of exclusions from government assistance.

As a New Zealander, you have a unique opportunity if you’re considering moving to Australia. Australia and New Zealand have a Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement that allows their citizens to visit, study, live and work in either NZ or Australia for as long or little as they want. However, there are exclusions as below.

Read my Australia Visa post for more information on SCVs, entitlements, waiting periods for government support and more.

New Zealanders in Australia
(On non-protected Special Category Visas)

  • Are entitled to family payments, including Family Tax Benefits, Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement, Child Care Subsidy and Parental Leave Pay, and medical care under Medicare.
  • But are excluded from Newstart Allowance (unemployment) benefits, Parenting Payment and Youth Allowance.
  • Kiwis living in Australia continuously for 10 years since February 2001 might be eligible for once-only Newstart and Youth Allowances for up to six months.
  • Are not entitled to Austudy and HELP student loans, whether on protected or non-protected SCVs.
  • Are excluded from the new Disability Insurance Scheme, including children of NZ parentage born in Australia.
  • Cannot receive Disability Support Pension for non-work-related disabilities developed while living in Australia.
  • Excluded from new payments for Australian residents injured by terrorist attacks abroad.
  • Have no automatic path to permanent residency or citizenship and are required to compete with other migrants on the basis of required skills.
  • Excluded from disability support services in Queensland, which is now amending anti-discrimination laws to allow the exclusion of New Zealanders.
  • Do not have access to public housing in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales, which also now refuses Kiwis emergency accommodation.
  • Have been excluded from student concessionary travel in Victoria, including primary and secondary school pupils and extending to all New Zealanders regardless of the date of arrival. This is now subject to an anti-discrimination case.

Australians in New Zealand

  • Australians can apply for all Winz payments, including disability assistance and allowances, domestic purposes benefits, accommodation supplements, childcare assistance, health-related benefits, sickness benefits, temporary additional support, unemployment benefits, and disaster relief recovery payments.
  • Unlike ex-pat Kiwi victims of floods and Cyclone Yasi (initially refused emergency payments but after pressure granted one-off assistance), Australians in Christchurch qualified for the same earthquake assistance as New Zealanders.
  • After two years, they are eligible for tertiary student allowances and can apply for student loans.
  • After three years, residents can apply for citizenship.

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Still got unanswered questions?

If you’ve read the above content and the answer to your question isn’t there, please write a comment below, and I’ll research the answer for you.

Can I help you find something else?

If you need advice on moving to Australia from New Zealand, I’ve created a helpful little questionnaire to point you in the right direction. It takes less than 30 seconds, so give it a go!

54 Comments

  1. Jackson

    June 3, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    Hi, I’m applying for a driver’s license in NSW. On the website

    https://www.nsw.gov.au/driving-boating-and-transport/driver-and-rider-licences/visiting-or-moving-to-nsw/moving-your-overseas-licence/prepare-your-application

    in section “Proof of Permanent Residency”, they didn’t list SCV. When I went through the airport, I didn’t get a visa. So how can I show proof of permanent residency?

    Reply
  2. Katherine

    June 2, 2023 at 1:24 am

    Hi! Thank you for your useful tips and advise!
    I have a doubt on my part. I live in Singapore and have practised nursing for 10years. Have a successful application and registration of NZ APC nursing license which i managed to obtain 3 days ago. I am in the midst of exploring TTMR in AHPRA to convert license to Australia license. Any advise if i can do that without working in NZ as soon as I have obtained their license?

    Would be really helpful if you could clear this doubt. However, no worries if there isn’t. I can still move to NZ for the time being and figure it out again. Thank you for taking the time to attend to each comments posted (:

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 19, 2023 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Katherine,
      I’m sorry but I don’t know anything about nursing licenses. However, I do know that nurses are highly sort after in Australia!
      There are a lot of companies that are willing to assist you with your placement and move to Australia: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=nursing+jobs+in+australia.
      I recommend you contact a company that has placements in the city you want to move to and ask them the same question. Make sure you research the company and read some independent reviews.
      Hope the above helps you find an answer.

      Reply
  3. Michael Donaldson

    May 8, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Hi there, my wife and I are UK and NZ citizens, both born in the UK and living in New Zealand for the past 15 years. We intend to move to Perth to be near our daughter once our house in NZ has been sold. We would move over to Perth to stay with our daughter over the next few months to give us time to sort out house purchase etc. We are both on the UK pension and would intend to stay on it.
    I have been checking stamp duty requirements re house purchase (cash in our case) and am not sure whether we would have to pay stamp duty and/or the extra foreign buyers charge and also whether we would be regarded as first time buyers (we are in Australia anyway). Can you help?
    Regards,
    Michael

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 11, 2023 at 10:12 am

      Hi Michael,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately, I am not a financial adviser and cannot give you complete certainty on what your rights are.
      As NZ citizens you are eligible for the FHOG and stamp duty waiver if it is your first property in Australia and you intend to move into it.
      You will not have to pay the foreign buyers’ charge if you are already in Australia when signing the sale and purchase, as you would have an SCV.
      Here is all the information I know about Buying a house in Australia as an NZ citizen: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/buying-a-house-in-australia/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  4. Nick

    February 14, 2023 at 5:56 pm

    Hi JJ
    I am NZ pensioner deciding to join my daughter living in Melbourne. Would you be able to know if I do not qualify for Australian pension due to assets testing, will Work and Income remit portable pension?
    Thanks and regards, Nick

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 20, 2023 at 10:35 am

      Hi Nick,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Here is my post on the Australian Age Pension: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-age-pension/.
      My post includes information on asset testing, NZ pension in Australia and how to apply.
      As it sounds like you are single, the low limit (homeowners) for asset testing is $270,500 and $487,000 is the high limit (non-homeowners).
      Your pension is reduced by 75 cents per fortnight for every whole amount of $250 worth of assets above the limit. The pension continues to reduce at the rate of 75 cents for every $250 worth of assets over the limit until the value of your assets reaches or exceeds the assets cut-off limits.
      Here is a link to an Australia Age Pension calculator. You can input your assets and it will tell you how much pension you will receive a week: https://www.superguide.com.au/in-retirement/age-pension-calculator.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  5. Neil Flynn

    September 11, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    I’m an NZ citizen looking to move to Australia in the coming months. Just to seek advice what I need to do and how to go about it. I understand the SCV requirement, but don’t know what I need to do to get rolling. I will be looking to try and obtain residency, and (where possible in the future) Australian citizenship, but that is far away from the start. Residency would do. If anyone can point me to the correct place, I’ll be extremely grateful. Just to fully understand the requirements before I start on anything. Thanks, Neil.

    Reply
  6. Sandra maclaren

    June 9, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    Can an elderly parent aged 88 move to Aus to live with family on the SCV visa ? The parent has sufficient funds to live independently, and will live with family. Are there any age or health requirements?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 13, 2022 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Sandra,
      Thank you for your comment.
      There are no age requirements to get an SCV as an NZ citizen.
      You need to have a valid NZ passport. Not be a behaviour concern non-citizen (imprisoned for periods that total at least one year). Not be a health concern non-citizen (have tuberculosis). Not have a ‘no further stay’ visa condition (you can’t apply for this visa if you currently hold a visa that has a ‘no further stay’ condition).
      Have a read of my Can a NZ citizen get an Australian benefit or pension? post, as it includes a Age Pension calculator, so you can check if they would be able to get any Australia pension: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/can-a-nz-citizen-get-an-australian-benefit-or-pension/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your parents move.

      Reply
  7. Sheldon

    May 23, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    Hi I have moved from NZ to Sydney in 2018 with my Wife and child. We have been here now for 4 years. we as NZ citizen, are we eligible for PR or Australian Citizenship when we complete 5 years in Australia. We have both been working here full time. Appreciate if you are able to provide us some insight if NZ citizens have a pathway to PR or Australia Citizenship

    Reply
  8. Alison Phillips

    August 2, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Hi
    Firstly, What a great, informative site! Thank you :).
    My husband and I (both in our 50’s) are Uk citizens with permanent residency in NZ.
    We have two children living in Australia (Brisbane and Melbourne) One is now an Australian Citizen.
    Is there any way for us to move to Australia? We have moved our pensions over to here and would purchase a property (without needing a mortgage) and would have savings to cover anything else so would not be reliant on any sort of benefit. We would both also continue to work if possible. (IT and Teacher). Since Covid, we have found it very difficult being apart from the children, and just wondered if there was a way for us to join them in Australia.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      August 9, 2021 at 1:31 am

      Hi Alison,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Because you are both NZ permanent residents not NZ citizens you will need to apply for visa to move to Australia or get NZ citizenship.
      I cannot advise which option is better for you. I recommend you contact IMMagine, who are licensed advisers living in New Zealand or Australia: http://www.immigration.co.nz/.
      They offer a free preliminary evaluation to establish which Visa category may suit you and whether it’s worth your while ordering a comprehensive full assessment or you can continue the process yourself: http://www.immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  9. Anthony

    March 3, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    I am looking into moving to Australia from NZ but will retain rental properties in NZ.
    Am I correct in assuming that because I would be a temporary resident of Australia under the SCV that I do no need to include the rental income in my Australian tax return?
    If I then, in the future, became an Australian permanent resident the situation would then change with the properties being subject to CGT in Australia?
    Any comment would be gratefully received.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 24, 2021 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Anthony,
      Thank you for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      Yes from what I know, temporary residents are generally exempt from tax on their overseas income. Contrast this with permanent residents or Australian citizens. As long as they remain residents for tax purposes they have to pay tax on any source of income, foreign or domestic.
      Whereas a temporary resident living and working in Australia generally will only need to pay tax on Australian income, and employment income overseas. Any bank interest, share dividends, rent from property and capital gains are usually disregarded (that is, tax free).
      The above is from this post: https://www.beyondaccountancy.com.au/something-every-kiwi-in-australia-needs-to-know/.
      It’s really going to depend on your accountant.
      Please note, I am not an accountant or tax agent, so can only relay what info I’ve managed to find online.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  10. Mel

    February 9, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Hi JJ

    Please can you advise if NZ citizens moving to the Lucky Country are entitled to domestic fees for tech and uni study? I couldn’t find any confirmation on the TAFE website about this and wondered if we would be charged as international students instead. Appreciate your help with this matter, cheers 🙂

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 11, 2021 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Mel,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Yes New Zealanders get charged the same as other Australians.
      However, most New Zealand citizens will not be eligible for any kind of student loan to pay university fees, or be eligible for a student allowance to pay for living costs. You will need to get Australian citizenship to get a student loan.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  11. Jenny Pieper

    March 12, 2020 at 3:57 am

    Hi
    My partner was in Australia prior to 26 Feb 2001. He and his then partner moved here. They got pregnant with their first child but due to having no family here for support they went back to NZ for their first son to be born. They brought their son back to Australia when he was 6 weeks old. They had 5 other boys all born here in Australia.
    The eldest one moved back to NZ when he was 13.5 years old to live with his grandparents. My partner has lived in Oz on and off since 1995. He has been working in this country for 20 years.
    He moved here with me since September 2017 although had to make lots of trips back home to sort out his boys who were all back there then.
    My question is as this boy entered Australia on 13/3/1995 and did not leave until 28/7/2008 he should have a Protected SCV shouldn’t he? Even though he was a child, he should have the same rights to the PSCV as his parents had.
    We have just applied for Citizenship by conferral (the other 5 boys have their Australian citizenship as we only had to provide evidence.) He received a reply that he has been declined. Reason given was the general residency requirement Section 22 where he was not in Australia for 4 years prior to application.

    IF he is a protected SCV does he still have to be here for 4 years prior to application?

    I am not sure how I find out if he is a protected SCV holder or not as he was a child?

    Any help you can give me would be very much appreciated. Also my partner has not been here for 4 years prior to applying – it is only 2.5 years but we want to get his application in before they change the rules again.
    Its quite scary….
    many thanks

    Kind regards

    Jenny

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 15, 2020 at 11:47 pm

      Hi Jenny,
      Thanks for your commend.
      However, unfortunately I cannot help at all.
      You are going to have to contact an immigration specialist on the Australian Government website, Migration Agents Registration Authority (https://www.mara.gov.au/).
      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

      Reply
  12. Mark ryding

    December 2, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Hi JJ
    We are 2 UK citizens who are permanent residence visa holders living in NZ, we have been living here for 7 years. My question is, is it better to get NZ citizenship then move to AUS or can we move over as NZ permanent residents. We have no children and in our 50’s

    Many thanks
    M and M

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      December 2, 2019 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your email.
      You are better off getting NZ citizenship and then moving over, as NZ permanent residents don’t get granted the SCV, so you would need to sort out another visa if you moved to Australia.
      This is why NZ is considered the back door to Australia.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  13. Veronica

    October 23, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Hi,
    Me and husband just arrived back in NZ from visiting family and friends in Sunshine coast, we are thinking of relocating I have two children one aged 1 year and the other is 8 years old.
    What type of support would we get for them regarding school or child care I hear childcare can be expensive also what about doctors and hospital what does it cost for them?
    What is the family payment you are entitled to and how long do you have to live in Australia before you are entitled to payment?
    I currently receive working for families and accommodation supplement form WINZ as well as day care subsidy.
    We are both self employed and own our own fitness gym however not sure what we will do for work yet.
    Appreciate any advice you have speaking to a few people they kept repeating lack of jobs available.
    Thanks
    Veronica

    Reply
  14. Eileen Holliday

    July 8, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Hi

    We have recently moved to Australia from NZ.

    I’m getting confused with all the information and wondered if you could perhaps explain to me in plain English what the requirements are as two NZ Citizens wanting to become Australian Residents and being eligible of benefits of being an Australian Resident/Citizen.

    Thanks – Eileen

    Reply
  15. Sarah

    June 12, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Hi, I don’t know if you can help. I can’t seem to get hold of Centrelink, and you seem like a fountain of knowledge 🙂
    We are newly migrated Kiwis to AUS and the after school care place we use seems to think we would be eligible for childcare subsidy. But when I look through the Centrelink website I find this:
    “Non-protected SCV holder
    If you are a New Zealand citizen who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001, you’re generally a non-protected SCV holder. This means you are not an Australian resident for social security purposes.” And this means we are not eligible for child care subsidy.
    Is this how you understand it too?
    Thank you!!!

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 25, 2019 at 12:14 am

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
      Good news for you is from my research you are definitely eligible for the Australia childcare benefit on a non-protected Special Category Visa. Call CenterLink on 136 150 and they will be able to help.
      Follow this link to find out more about the Australian Child Care Subsidy: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/child-care-subsidy.
      Hope the above helps.

      Reply

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