Listen up New Zealanders! From 1 July 2023, New Zealand (NZ) citizens who have been living in Australia for at least 4 years can apply directly for Australian citizenship without the need to first be granted a permanent residency visa! These provisions apply to NZ citizens holding a Special Category visa (subclass 444) (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001.
Exciting! What about the PR criteria in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007(Cth)?
As the general residence requirement for Australian citizenship by conferral still must be met, citizenship applicants must be lawfully present in Australia for 4 years, including 12 months as a permanent resident (PR), immediately before the citizenship application date.
Thus, from 1 July 2023:
All NZ citizens holding an SCV will be considered PRs for citizenship purposes;
NZ citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their permanent residency period for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022; and
NZ citizens granted their first SCV on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a PR for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.
Sounds great! Is there anything else I should be aware of?
These changes will apply to NZ citizens in Australia and those who are overseas but held an SCV immediately before last leaving Australia. An SCV is automatically granted to a NZ citizen when they arrive in Australia and is valid for the duration of their stay and ceases on their departure from Australia. The new eligibility criteria will only apply to citizenship applications lodged from 1 July 2023, so be sure to wait till then for confirmation of the new provisions before applying!
Further, from 1 July 2023, any child born to SCV holders in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth and apply for a citizenship certificate.
I understand, so how can I fulfill my dream of staying in Australia?
We will be more than happy to assist you! Just get in touch with our friendly team via our website. Once you do that, sit back and relax as we guide you through the entire process of applying for the relevant visas!