Australian permanent residency for New Zealand citizens

A new migration pathway for New Zealand Citizens has been announced, and is due to come into effect from 1 July 2017.

New Zealand citizens are currently able to remain indefinitely in Australia with full work rights on Special Category Subclass 444 visas. However, since 2001 they are not considered permanent residents and are not eligible for Australian citizenship.

The new pathway makes it possible for NZ citizens who have lived in Australia for 5 years and who have been earning taxable income in Australia to qualify for permanent residence.

Whilst this is great news for NZ citizens living in Australia, the implementation may adversely affect people applying for General Skilled Migration.

189 Visa New Zealand stream requirements

australian permanent residency for new zealand citizens kiwis in ozA new stream will be introduced to the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa. Legislation have passed through parliament on 18/05/2017 and the requirements are clear:

  • There is no age limit for primary applicant
  • Primary 189 NZ stream visa applicant must be a holder of 444 special category visa
  • Secondary applicants (immediate family members) might be a holder of any substantive visa, BVA, BVB or BVC
  • Primary visa applicant must have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately before the date of visa application.
  • Primary applicant must have arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 but before 20 February 2016 (NZ citizens who were living in Australia before 26 February 2001 might be considered “eligible New Zealand citizen” and might be eligible for citizenship straight away)
  • Primary applicant must have earned taxable income at or above the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold – currently $53,900) for last 4 financial years within 5 years period of residence in Australia
  • Copies of tax liability in relation to the 4 most recently completed income years before the date of the application (during the period of 5 years immediately before that date) will have to be provided, so despite visa will be available from 01/07/2017 application will have to be lodged once a tax return for FY16/17 will be acknowledged by ATO.
  • All family members will have to meet health and character requirements

In very limited circumstances a waiver might be available for the taxable income requirement – for example, primary carers of children who are unable to return to New Zealand due to custody or access issues.

There is no capping or occupation ceiling for 189 NZ stream, it should stay as part of migration program for years. If you do not qualify yet you might become eligible in next couple of years, so “sweet as Bro”!

Concession on Visa Application Fee

The visa application fee will be the same as for another subclass 189 applicants. However, New Zealanders applying under the new pathway will only have to pay 20% of the application fees of lodgement, with the remainder payable before visa grant. From 01/07/2017 189 visa fees will increase slightly and will be as follow:

  • Primary applicant: $3,670
  • Adult dependent: $1,835
  • Child Dependent (each): $920

Are you ready to apply for 189 NZ stream visa?

There is a lot of documents which will have to be submitted to the department of immigration with a visa application and the fees for a visa are rather high. I guess you would like to maximize your chances for a visa grant, so take this opportunity and let me take care of your visa application. For a limited time, I have dropped Migration Agent fee for 189 NZ stream visa to $1500 (conditions apply). For this fee, I’ll guide you through the whole process and will deal on your behalf with a department of immigration. Please answer the questions below and we’ll get back to you.

Impact on Migration Program

Skilled Independent applicants currently need to meet a range of criteria that applicants in the NZ citizen stream would not – namely:

  • Skills Assessment in an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List
  • English Language Testing
  • Passing the skilled migration points test
  • Receiving an invitation via SkillSelect
  • Paying the full application fees at lodgement
  • Maximum age limit of 49

There is virtually no commonality with the proposed NZ citizen stream, so the rationale for including it within the Skilled Independent subclass is not clear. There is a possibility for applicants who do meet the demanding requirements for skilled independent migration to be disadvantaged if NZ citizen applicants receive priority, but would that be a concern for New Zealanders?

There may be 60-70,000 New Zealanders who may be eligible for the new stream – as there are only 44,000 places available for the skilled independent subclass each year, this may mean it will be more competitive to obtain an invitation for a subclass 189 visa. The impact is likely to be significant in the first few years as New Zealanders who were previously not eligible for permanent residence make applications. The impact is likely to decline thereafter.

As the New Zealanders need to have been resident for the last 5 years in Australia, there would be no impact on Net Overseas Migration. We would argue that the new stream should operate outside the Migration Program, or at least should not count towards the quota for the 189 program. This would allow New Zealanders to apply without restriction, but limit the impact on others seeking to apply for Skilled Migration.

If you are not eligible for 189 NZ stream there might be the other options available as for any other nationalities, such as:

  • 189 / 190 / 489 skilled stream
  • ENS visa (there are special provisions for New Zealanders within ENS visa program)
  • RSMS visa
  • Family visas

If you would like advice on your migration options, please book a consultation with one of our migration advisors

Feel free to ask a question or share your thoughts in comments below.

Australian permanent residency for New Zealand citizens
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33 thoughts on “Australian permanent residency for New Zealand citizens

  • 26 March 2017 at 12:36
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    Hi. I was wondering if you would still qualify for the new migration pathway for New Zealand Citizens if the average of the last five years is greater than TSMIT but you took a year off work in the middle to look after a sick partner? E.g. the average of 125K + 125K + 0 + 125K + 125K is 100K pa.

    Reply
    • 27 June 2017 at 10:51
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      Must be for last consecutive 4 financial years unless exemption does apply, so I am afraid you will not qualify, but you may qualify in next 2 years assuming you’ll earn above threshold.

      Reply
  • 24 April 2017 at 14:31
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    My husband is on a 461 visa currently living in Australia I am a nd citerzin. We are wanting to apply for nd permanent residency. R we able to apply from Australia or do we need to be living in nz?. What is the procedure of doing this?

    Reply
    • 27 June 2017 at 10:55
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      Not sure about the question? If you are asking about New Zealand permanent residency for your husband, I can’t help you with that.
      As a holder of 444 SC visa you may be eligible for Australian permanent residency and also your husband as secondary applicant even if he does hold 461 visa.

      Reply
  • 25 April 2017 at 23:50
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    what about for young new zealanders in there 20’s who do not earn that much? but have been here in australia for the last 10 – 15years , and not had any criminal records etc..

    Reply
    • 27 June 2017 at 11:03
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      Here’s a quite interesting example why New Zealanders living in Australia who care about their children should get their permanent residency – because children as dependents will become Australian permanent residents as well. Once a child turns 18 and is not going to school is not considered as dependent anymore and needs to get their own PR visa (there are some exemptions, so child up to 23 years old might be considered a dependent for 189 NZ visa). There aren’t that many options – what comes to my mind is Partner visa (if in a relationship with an Australian) or ENS visa (if employer willing to help).

      Reply
  • 29 June 2017 at 09:10
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    I have 2 questions with regard to the new stream:

    1. My partner – NZ citizen has arrived in Australia on February 16th, 2016, just a few days before the cutoff. He signed the flat rental lease on the 20th with a lease commencement date of March 1st. Does it make him NOT ususally resident and eligible? He has correspondences with estate agent within in that 3 days to show he was looking for a place to settle though.

    2. I see NZ citizens will be exempt from newly introduced Australian citizenship rules, i.e. can apply for citizenship after 12 month once the PR is granted. Does this also apply to the partner if included in the new 189 visa?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:56
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      1. As long as he arrived before the cutoff date and got settled right after, shall be fine.
      2. Still waiting for legislation – don’t have the answer to that.

      Reply
  • 29 June 2017 at 22:01
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    Hi there, just wondering my family and I have been settled in Australia for 5years.. The first 2years we were here I didn’t work due to no work experience, however I went back to do a course with in that 2 years and I graduated as a nurse… I started working, 2014/15 financial year I earned $48,000 before tax in 10months 2nd year 2015/16 I earned $58,000 before tax and 2016/17 financial year I am going to lodge my tax and my income is $63,500
    So my family and I can apply for this please???

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:54
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      Assuming you’ll earn above the threshold for next 3 financial years you may become eligible for 189 NZ stream visa in 2020. Have a chat with your employer if they would like to help you become a PR and sponsor you for ENS visa. There are special provisions for New Zealanders when it comes to Employer Sponsored Permanent visas. If they’d like to assist let them give us a call to +61 (7) 3668 0658

      Reply
  • 1 July 2017 at 19:13
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    I wish to apply under the new scheme. I have been in Australia for 11 years working as a teacher.
    I have all the Notices of Assessment sent to me by the ATO for the years I have worked. I have made a substantial “Salary Sacrifice” every month from 2008 and my employer has sent it to my Super Fund.
    The Taxable Income shown in the Notices of Assessments does not show these amounts. As such in some years I am unable to meet the minimum threshold of $53,900. My gross salary should be the Taxable income (taxed by ATO) plus the Salary Sacrifice (taxed by the Super Fund and the taxed amount sent to ATO). However the Payment summary for the year endings show the Gross payments and the Reportable employer superannuation contributions.

    So how can I reconcile this as the Notices of Assessment does not show my gross salary and this is the document I have to submit when applying.

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:50
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      It must be taxable income above the threshold. Please discuss with your accountant.

      Reply
  • 3 July 2017 at 16:56
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    Hi. My husband arrived AU at the end of November 2012, and the income earned as,
    2012/2013 $21500 (not the full financial year), rest of the years have been over the threshold. As only four notice of Assessments are required, can we submit 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 (4 notice of assessments) and apply at the end of November 2017, or wait until July 2018? Thanks.

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:48
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      November shall be fine.

      Reply
  • 15 July 2017 at 20:25
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    Hi sir
    I came in Australia in aug 2012, got permanent residency in dec 2014 . I am a new Zealand Citizen ,. STILL LIVING IN AUSTRALIA . MY QUESTION IS AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP Thanks Shimmi

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:45
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      We’re still waiting for legislation to go through Parliament. Don’t have an answer to this question yet.

      Reply
  • 17 July 2017 at 10:24
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    my income is above the threshold according to my group certificates , however in the notice of assessment fell below it because of applying negative gearing and other tax deductions . would I still qualify

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:43
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      Must be taxable income. Have a chat with your accountant what you can to amend an assessment.

      Reply
  • 18 July 2017 at 00:26
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    I came to Australia from NZ in 1996.I have 2 children born here 1 in 1997 and the other in 2000.The children are Australian citizens both parents are kiwis.We have never had to become residents as this was automatic.This year I have applied for a house loan and have been told to get in touch with immigration as I am not a resident.My family tax has been cut off also apparently pending information from the immigration department.We work,pay taxes etc.What can we do?

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:42
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      If you’ve been living in Australia since 1996, you might be considered as “eligible New Zealand citizen”. There are special provisions for New Zealanders who came to Australia before 26 February 2001. You might be pleasantly surprised, that you are very likely eligible for Australian Citizenship. Please give us a call or contact us through this form https://migration-agent.com/contact-us/to discuss your options.

      Reply
  • 11 August 2017 at 15:40
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    What taxable income include? Wage, rental income ?

    Reply
    • 17 August 2017 at 11:15
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      Source of income does not really. What department requires is a statement from ATO.

      Reply
  • 17 August 2017 at 12:13
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    What does a 17-year-old New Zealand citizen who has been living in Australia for 9 years, need to do to apply for permanent residency? Do I need to apply for a special category 444 visa? ( I have completed all schooling in Australia)

    Reply
    • 21 August 2017 at 11:50
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      The best would be if parent(s) would qualify and apply for PR and their 17 years old child would be included in their PR application as a dependent.

      Reply
    • 6 September 2017 at 20:33
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      My Name Nannette, i am NZ citizen but i want to apply for Australia permanent residency, Just wondering Can i apply permanent residency for australia while i am living in NZ ?
      How much going to cost me ?
      What is the time processing time ?

      Reply
      • 27 September 2017 at 09:43
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        Nanette
        Simple answer is yes – you can, but if you are eligible for Australian PR depends on your situation. We’d have to check your skills and family composition to determine your eligibility for PR visa.

        Reply
  • 28 August 2017 at 13:21
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    I came to Australia in 1981 from New Zealand and my first international flight from Australia was January 2011,Was I automatically approved permanent residency when I arrived in 1981?I still have the original passport which I cam to Australia with in 1981 and what steps do I need to prove that I have permanent-residency or not?

    Reply
    • 27 September 2017 at 10:04
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      You shall be considered so-called “eligible New Zealand citizen”. There are special provisions for people like you, and very likely you might be eligible for PR already. We’d have to discuss.

      Reply
  • 1 September 2017 at 15:28
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    Hi I’m a 22 years old New Zealand citizen, I have been living in Australia since 2007, I’m still confused on how i become a Australian permanent residedent or if its possible? Thanks

    Reply
  • 7 September 2017 at 20:19
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    I came to Australia in September 2016 m I able to apply for Australia permanent residency if not then when can I apply and what is the requirements thanks

    Reply
    • 27 September 2017 at 09:39
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      189 NZ stream is not an option, but there might be some other options for you. Give us a call to discuss.

      Reply
  • 9 September 2017 at 13:48
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    What is the option for NZ citizen who have arrived in Australia now (for example arrived in 2017 which is after 20 February 2016 as mentioned above). How can they attain Australian Permanent Residency?

    Reply
    • 27 September 2017 at 09:34
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      1. Live for 5 years n Australia, earn above TSMIT and apply for 189 NZ stream if this option will still be available in the future
      2. Apply for 189 visa the same way as the other nations.
      3. Fall in love with an Aussie girl or boy and apply for partner visa
      4. find an employer willing to help with getting an employer sponsored PR visa.
      or just call us and we’ll have a look at your situation.

      Reply

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