The Australian government has implemented changes to citizenship requirements for New Zealand citizens living in Australia. The changes come into effect from 1 July 2023 and provide an opportunity for eligible New Zealanders to become Australian citizens and have equal rights and privileges as Australian citizens in Australia.
Currently, New Zealand citizens can live and work in Australia indefinitely on a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444) (‘SCV’). However, New Zealand citizens are not entitled to certain rights that Australian citizens have, such as voting rights or access to certain government benefits.
There are two new milestone changes that enshrine the bond between New Zealand and Australia:
- Citizenship by conferral for New Zealand Citizens living in Australia
Under the new changes, New Zealanders who have been living and working in Australia for at least four (4) years are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral from 1 July 2023. This means that they will have the same rights and privileges as Australian citizens, including the right to vote, access to government benefits, and protection from deportation.
Currently, New Zealanders would first need to become Australian permanent residents before they can apply for Australian citizenship. With this new change, the procedural requirement for permanent residence is no longer relevant, meaning New Zealanders living in Australia will just need to meet the residence and character requirements for Australian Citizenship.
- Citizenship by birth for children born in Australia to New Zealand Citizen parents
As part of this milestone change, the Australian government also announced that children born in Australia to New Zealand Citizens will automatically be Australian Citizens by birth. This process was exclusively for children born in Australia to Australian citizens or permanent residents.
These changes provide much-needed relief for New Zealanders who call Australia home, and who have not been able to access the same benefits as Australian Citizens.
If you are a New Zealand Citizen living in Australia, you may be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship under this change. Contact one of our skilled migration lawyers for more information and to determine your eligibility for Australian Citizenship.