Australian Citizenship Pathway for NZ Citizens Announced

From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens residing in Australia on Subclass 444 Special Category Visa (SCV) will be able to apply directly for citizenship if they have resided in Australia for 4 years or more.

This is a direct pathway to Australian Citizenship for eligible New Zealand citizens.

Subclass 444 visa holders will no longer need to obtain Australian permanent residence first and meet the general residency requirement, as they will be eligible to now apply straight for Citizenship.

In order to meet the general residence requirement for Australian citizenship by conferral, an applicant must be lawfully present in Australia for four years, including 12 months as a permanent resident, immediately before the date of application.

By effect of these changes and as 1 July 2023:

  • All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.

Whilst other legislative provisions applicable to this Australian Citizenship pathway are yet to be released, the expectation is that the 4-year residence requirement will be the main criterion that will need to be met by eligible New Zealand Citizens.

This further means that all New Zealand citizens that arrive in Australia now on an SCV visa will be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship once they’ve resided onshore for 4 years.

In addition, children born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to SCV holders may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth.

From 1 July 2023, children born to NZ citizens in Australia can apply for​ evidence of citizenship.

If you would like further information on the new legislative changes, your eligibility for Citizenship by Conferral under these provisions or wish to schedule a consultation please contact our team of immigration lawyers and registered migration agents on 1300 083 843 or contact us online.

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