As a New Zealander, you have a unique opportunity if you’re considering a move to Australia. New Zealand and Australia 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.
Australia announced on 22 April 2023 a new direct pathway to citizenship for eligible New Zealand citizens who have lived in Australia for at least 4 years immediately before the day you apply.
The changes will come into effect from July 1 this year and be retrospective.
Read more on my direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders in Australia post.
As an NZ citizen, you will be automatically granted a non-protected Special Category Visa (SCV) when you process through Australian border control, subject to meeting the health and character requirements. There is no mention of this at border control. It all happens electronically. The SCV is automatically cancelled upon departing Australia.
On the 22nd of April 2023, Australia announced a new direct pathway to citizenship for eligible NZ citizens who have been living in Australia on a valid visa for 4 years immediately before the day they apply. They must not have been absent from Australia for more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the 12 months immediately before applying.
The new law will apply to Kiwis on temporary, special category visas (SCV) 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.
There is no income threshold or health check required.
New Zealand citizens with a valid New Zealand passport are able to move to Australia from New Zealand without having to apply for a visa. We apply and get granted a Special Category Visa 444 (SCV) simply by processing through border control. You must meet the character requirements, see below.
After you have been living in Australia for four years, you are able to apply to become an Australian citizen. We no longer need to apply for a Australian permanent visa (permanent resident) first.
If you are a New Zealander with a criminal history then you will need to get written confirmation of your criminal history from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) before you travel to Australia. If you have been imprisoned for over a year, you will need to apply for an Australian Visa.
New Zealanders who are 66 and 6 months or older and live in Australia should be eligible for an Australian age pension. As long as they meet the resident, income, and asset eligibility criteria.
Under Australia’s international social security agreement with New Zealand, NZ citizens living in Australia can apply for the Australian Age Pension (if over the age of 66 and 6 months), Disability Support Pension (DSP) (if they are severely disabled), and Carer Payment (if they are caring for a partner on DSP), irrespective of whether they are protected or non-protected SCV holders.
There are a number of exclusions to government help that you should be aware of when moving to Australia on an SCV (special category visa).
Below are a list of frequently asked questions we get regularly. If there is something you want to know please use the comment form at the bottom of the page.