Immigrating to Australia – Visa Options for New Zealand Citizens
Our team has been receiving many inquiries from New Zealand citizens regarding permanent visa options and information about immigrating to Australia. The visa options vary depending on the location of the prospective applicant, the New Zealand citizen, whether inside or outside Australia.
The subclass 444 Special Category Visa is the popular temporary visa received by New Zealand citizens at the airport in Australia. This visa allows them to stay in Australia indefinitely however some New Zealand citizens prefer the security of an Australian permanent residency or Australian citizenship therefore they seek advice about immigrating to Australia permanently.
New Zealand and Australia have always shared close ties in those seeking to migrate between them. Many who live in Australia have travelled to New Zealand in order to settle, and many in New Zealand have sought to come to Australia to do the same.
The reasons vary among motivations, but one of the most common reasons that New Zealand citizens often seek to immigrating to Australia is for reasons of employment that they have been offered.
Especially in the recent days following the pandemic and borders reopening, many Australian businesses are seeking to fill employment gaps that aren’t normally able to be filled locally. And with New Zealand so close both geographically as well as culturally, it makes New Zealand citizens a natural choice for many.
Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa – apply from outside or inside Australia
The subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa is one of the most noteworthy Australian visa options that are available to prospective migrants and also an available pathway that a New Zealand citizen will have towards attaining permanent residency. It enables the visa holder to travel to Australia and remain in Australia for a period of five years provided they live and work within a regional area for the duration of their stay.
It is not the ideal visa pathway for a New Zealand citizen because the New Zealand citizen can travel to Australia and work in any area without restrictions however if the New Zealand citizen wants to have a permanent residence option quicker than five years, it is worth exploring it.
The 491 skilled regional (provisional) visa can be lodged from both inside or outside Australia. It is more appropriate to use this visa pathway if the New Zealand citizen is still outside Australia, however if the intention is to lodge from Australia, make sure to check the eligibility for the more streamlined visa option, such as the subclass 189 Skilled Independent New Zealand stream, available to New Zealand citizens only.
The applicant must meet the points test and must have received an invitation through SkillSelect and a nomination from a state or territory government to be eligible to receive this visa subclass.
More-over, the applicant must also ensure that they have been able to apply for an occupation that is on the approved occupations list for the subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa. These occupations also have specific skills requirements and needs that must be fulfilled, so ensuring that these are met is paramount.
Finally, the visa does allow for subsequent entrants to be attached to the main visa application. This means that in the event that an applicant has members of the family unit that they wish to bring with them into Australia, they will be able to do so.
It is important to remember that this is only for immediate family members of the family unit such as spouse, de-facto partner or children. In the case of children, these are dependent children that are either not old enough to be of the age of majority or are otherwise incapable of caring for themselves without the parents.
This visa offers a permanent residency pathway through the subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) after the applicant has held it for three years, making it an excellent choice for a family or individual from New Zealand that wishes to settle in Australia and utilize a pre-existing skillset.
Subclass 189 Skilled independent visa – New Zealand Stream
New Zealand citizens who have been living and working in Australia have unique options to immigrating to Australia that are not readily available to others. This can be found within the Subclass 189 Skilled independent visa, specifically within the New Zealand stream.
The subclass 189 Skilled Independent – New Zealand stream has, at present, been closed to any new applications until the period of July 2023.
This is because there are new Visa considerations being formulated by the Australian government to help reflect the close relationship that Australia has with its neighbour. For current applicants of the subclass 189, there have been lessened restrictions placed on achieving this permanent visa criteria.
The ways that this has been achieved has been through the removal and alteration of a few select criteria that allow for a greater ease of access to achieving permanent residency.
These removed selection criteria are:
- the period of residence in Australia,
- the income threshold, and
- health requirements.
Despite concerns, the reason for the removal of the health requirement is that because of the fact the current holders of the New Zealand stream are those that hold a special category visa subclass 444. This subclass gives them access to Medicare, thereby alleviating any ongoing concerns that will be had about the health requirement.
However, despite the changes that have been made to pause the applications for this visa subclass this does not mean that it should be discounted. The visa has only been paused, not discontinued, and whilst it has been paused to allow for alteration as well as process many of the current holders this will not last forever.
When the visa reopens for new visa applications, it will be done so with a greater degree of ease for enabling New Zealand citizens to immigrating to Australian and be able to more readily apply and hold the subclass of visa thereby making it a much easier permanent residency pathway.
Additionally, Public interest criterion 4007 has now been removed for any additional member of the family of the primary applicant that has made an application as part of this visa. This is because the health requirement is no longer as heavily scrutinized under these changes, due to the addition of Medicare for holders of this visa.
Australia Partner Visa – Immigrating to Australia as a partner (fiancee, de-facto partner, married partner)
Finally, there is always the option of a Partner Visa for immigrating to Australia. A partner visa is always an option if you are in a genuine and continuing relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or a New Zealand eligible citizen. These are normally long-term residents also known as New Zealand eligbile citizens.
As with any partner visa, the visa applicant, a New Zealand citizen, must prove that the relationship is genuine and ongoing for a period of at-least 12 months before the applicant can be eligible unless the couple is married or they have registered the relationship with the Australian authorities.
Finally, for the sponsor, they must also ensure that they have not had more than two spouses sponsored before being a sponsor themselves. And in the event that the sponsor had previously been a sponsor for a spouse, it must have been five years since the visa was granted before they are allowed to become an eligible sponsor again.
The sponsorship assessment is very complex and it is highly recommended that professional migration advice is sought.
As previously stated, the government is currently considering more streamlined visa and citizenship options for New Zealand citizens. This is to reflect the closer ties that the two nations have with one another, and enable for a much clearer transition for New Zealand citizens that are seeking a more permanent visa option to allow them to remain within Australia.
It is anticipated that immigrating to Australia will become slightly easier upon implementation of the new changes.
However, at present, there is still not a lot mentioned about what these changes will entail and are likely still being discussed at present. It is clear that there is a greater emphasis on expediting the current permanent residency applicants for subclass 189 Skilled Independent – New Zealand stream from January onwards in order to process current case-loads.
If you are interested in immigrating to Australia, make a successful visa application with a positive outcome, secure your and/or your family’s future in beautiful Australia and take advantage of everything Australia has to offer, contact VISA LOUNGE AUSTRALIA team for reliable migration advice today!