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!


  1. Jyoti Singh

    June 2, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Hi MTA Team
    Me and my husband along with our three daughters 13(disable cerebral palsy)… 12 and 2 years old are wanting to know if we will get the same benefits as nz… Regarding my elder ones disability. Like allowance….. Edical facilities.. Special needs school if she is on high ORRS…. Support workers from any organisation to help me. Look after her so.that i can get a break.?? Kindly advise thanks a lot. Regards

  2. Mo

    March 25, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Him JJ,
    I am a Nz citizen looking at moving to Oz with my wife and 2 kids aged 11 and 7.

    Do i qualify for family tax and other non protected SCV benefits straight away or is there a waiting period.

    Also are my children considered domestic students on SCV and pay domestic fees when they go to Uni in Oz or international fees.

    • JJ Smith

      April 11, 2019 at 12:30 am

      Hi Mo,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
      You are entitled to family payments, including family tax benefit, baby bonus, childcare benefit and parental leave pay, and medical care under MediCare on a non-protected Special Category Visas.
      Your children will pay the same school and university fees as Australian kids. However, they won’t be able to get student loans unless you become a Permanent Resident and then Citizen.
      If you haven’t read this article I recommend it:
      Please feel free to email me any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

  3. Ben Jackson

    February 26, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Hi JJ ,

    Great site ! We are looking to move our little family (Mum ,Dad and Kids x4) over the Tasman for a job offer.The job itself isn’t tremendously well paid (70K) so was wondering in 2019 if we are eligible for Australia Family Tax benefit immediately or is there a 12 month stand down period. Cant seem to make sense of the Dept of Human affairs website on this fairly pivotal question !

    We would certainly really appreciate your comments and advice.

    Many Thanks ,

    Ben and Harriet

    • JJ Smith

      March 4, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Ben,
      Thank you for your comment.
      You are eligible for the Australia Family Tax benefit on a SCV.
      This is the main info page you should read, which covers the base rate, maximum and supplement of FTB Part A –
      You should receive the below for FTB Part A:
      – Base rate of $58.66 per child
      – Maximum rate for each child per fortnight is:
      – $182.84 for a child 0 to 12 years
      – $237.86 for a child 13 to 15 years
      – $237.86 for a child 16 to 19 years who meets the study requirements
      – $58.66 for a child 0 to 19 years in an approved care organisation
      – Supplement (yearly payment) up to $737.30 for each eligible child.
      FTB Part B depends on the age of your youngest child. The maximum rate per family each fortnight is (
      – $155.54 when the youngest child is 0 to 5 years of age
      – $108.64 when the youngest child is 5 to 18 years of age
      This is quite a hard one to understand, so I can’t say if you will receive this.
      I recommend you give them a call (0800 441 248) or ask for help on the above site in the little pop up. Then you can make a educated decision, because it will make such a big difference to your new life in Australia.
      Good luck with your move and please feel free to ask me anything else or let me know how you get on.
      JJ Smith

  4. Minerva

    January 29, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    hello, I would like to know if the Non protected SCV holder can leave in Australia with or without work?

    • JJ Smith

      January 29, 2019 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Minerva,
      Thank you for your comment.
      You will be allow into Australia on an SCV with or without work.
      However, you will not be entitled to unemployment benefits.
      Good luck with your move.

  5. Alia

    August 27, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Hi JJ,
    I’m thinking of making the big move across ditch from NZ but being a solo mum, I’m not sure if I can do it. My daughter is only 5 years old and I currently work as a nurse. Do you have any thoughts or probably something that can help me think things through?
    Thanks in advance

    • JJ Smith

      August 27, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Alia,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      Great news for you is as a nurse you will get paid a lot better and get the benefits of a higher quality of life when your not at work.
      You would want to apply for Permanent Residence before your daughter gets old enough to go to University, as one of the major downfalls of being a New Zealander moving to Australia on a SCV is your not eligible for student loans.
      On a SCV you are entitled to family payments, including family tax benefit, baby bonus, childcare benefit and parental leave pay, and medical care under MediCare. But are excluded from Newstart (unemployment) benefits, parenting payments and youth allowance.
      Read more about SCV exclusions here:
      In general you would have the same after school care components you have in NZ and Australians are very friendly and more than happy to help out.
      I have emailed a fiend of mine who moved to Byron Bay with her two girls to see if she had any advise. I will forward her response if I get one. However, I know her and the girls are doing great! The first year was tough getting set up, making new friends and getting used to the new life. But earning more has definitely helped and the girls are thriving with their new outdoor lifestyle.
      Please let me know if there are any areas of the move you are concerned about.
      Good luck with the decision.
      Thanks JJ

  6. Josie Nathan

    August 12, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Hi I’m bringing up 4 grandchildren receiving unsupported benefit for them, is it true I m not eligible to a benefit for them in Australia. Jo

    • JJ Smith

      August 17, 2015 at 5:44 am

      Hi Josie,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      Sorry but I am unsure, but believe the answer is no. To be certain I recommend you contact the Australia Government Department of Immigration and ask them.
      You can submit an online enquiry by following the below link. I recommend you include as much information about your circumstances as possible, so that they can give you a correct answer, e.g. work situation, ages of children, etc:
      Good luck with your move. Sorry I could not be of more help.

  7. Netta

    May 15, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Just found out today that an Australian permanent resident can reside in New Zealand indefinitely. However, this is not the same for a New Zealand permanent resident trying to reside in Australia. Just another inconsistency between the agreements of our countries.

  8. Dave

    January 12, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Hi, I am a New Zealand citizen with a wife and two children if I was to move to Australia in the near future I understand we would not be eligible for certain things, but after so many years would we not be allowed to become citizens, and then be classed as Australians and get all the benefits ?
    I was under the impression that all I would have to do is live there a couple of years and then I would be allowed to become a citizen.
    Please help, this has been my plan for years.

    • JJ Smith

      January 12, 2015 at 3:29 am

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      You are correct in understanding that there are some exclusions to the SCV, which will apply to you throughout your stay in Australia. However, from my knowledge, you are still able to apply for permanent residence like all other visitors to Australia.
      Please also keep in mind that Australia is under pressure to amend the exclusions, from both the NZ government and other parties in Australia, so hopefully something will happen in the next few years.
      Good luck with your move.

  9. Adriana

    August 1, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Hi , My name is Adriana. I have to kids 1 year old and 9 years old. We want to move at the end of October in Perth and I was wondering if I can get some benefit . My partner will look for a job,but I want to spend a bit more time with my kids until are getting settle , especially for my boy 9 years old. I am just thinking that will be a bit a change for him moving from NZ to Australia. Both kids are in my care full time . The idea is not to stay home and get the money for free its more for their settling and for myself to put the thing in place . Like a said my partner will apply for jobs soon as we arrive an my self after a few months , early 2015. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind Regards, Adriana

  10. Vic

    March 13, 2014 at 3:53 am

    I think it’s New Zealand governments fault not Australia…. NZ government must do a deal with Australian government like Australian government did with NZ for their people… Australia always looks after their people no matter what part of the world you live……it’s about time NZ government should do something for NZers…

  11. John

    May 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Just looking at the OZ Human Services site, and saw that for the Family Benefits for a non-protected SCV there is a 2 year wait for new arrivals, only AFTER having applied and received a Permanent Visa.
    In other words NZers will have the same process as any other non-Australian.

  12. Lara

    May 23, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Are kiwis entitled to claim for the childcare benefit straight away or do we have the 2 year stand down first?

  13. Pele

    May 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I reckon staying here in Australia for 5yrs
    not getting any assistance is really ridiculous. Government not seeing how too many new zealanders are homeless because of not getting enough support. Goverment not realising us new zealanders helping australians with all the support and access to all payments in new zealand

  14. Te Rina

    May 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Hi, i have just recently booked a one way ticket to sydney and am still deciding if i wana move there. Will i have any problems at the airport regarding my one way ticket?

  15. James

    April 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Hello. I am just curious if the information listed is up to date, or if there have been any recent changes. There were a few articles in the paper and on the news recently about NZ’ders moving to Aus and being treated like 2nd class citizens etc, so just trying to find out as much information as possible.

    • JJ Smith

      April 29, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Hi James,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      I have am constantly reviewing the Australian Government websites looking for changes.
      Even with all the press regarding SCV Visas, there have still been no official changes made. Please click on the below link to view Fact Sheet 17 New Zealanders in Australia:
      There are still the exclusions to the SCV Visas stated here and the fact the New Zealanders will have to apply for citizenship if they want equal help from the Australian government as Australians.
      MTA Team


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