The Australian Federal Government has made a legislative amendment creating a new permanent visa stream for specified New Zealand citizens living and working in Australia.

Essentially, this will allow New Zealand citizens, in Australia on a Special Category (subclass 444) visa to apply for Australian Permanent Residency via the Skilled (subclass 190) visa programme.

The instrument released by the federal government outline the following requirements:

  • The primary applicant must hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa and additional (secondary) applicants must hold a substantive visa, or a Bridging visa A, B or C;
  • The applicant must satisfy the Department that they have been ‘usually resident’ in Australia, on or before 16 February 2016 for a continuous period for at least five years immediately before applying for the visa;
  • The applicant must meet the relevant character requirements
  • The applicant must meet the health requirement, however, PIC 4007 has been included in the regulations meaning the Minister will have the power to waive the health requirement on a case by case basis
  • The visa application charges will be payable in two instalments
  • The applicants taxable income for four of the five most recently completed tax years, is required to be no less than a minimum amount specified in a legislative instrument.

The minimum amounts specified in the legislative instrument are:

  • 2012/2013 – $51,000
  • 2013/2014 – $53,900
  • 2014/2015 – $53,900
  • 2015/2016 – $53,900
  • 2016/2017 – $53,900

The Federal government has announced that this new visa options for NZ citizens living in Australia who meet the requirements will be available for applications commencing on the 1 July 2017.