Saturday, 01 July 2017
Media release

Additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand citizens

New Zealand citizens residing in Australia will have an option of an additional pathway available to them to gain permanent residence from 1 July 2017.

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said this new arrangement was an acknowledgement of the special relationship between the two nations.

“In line with the Turnbull Government’s announcement of 19 February 2016, the new pathway will be available to Special Category Visa [SCV] holders and will give eligible New Zealand citizens permanent resident status,” Mr Dutton said.

The additional pathway is available via the Skilled Independent (subclass189) visa which will have two streams: Skilled Independent 189 (Points-tested) stream and Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) stream.

The New Zealand stream is for SCV holders who were usually resident in Australia on or before 19 February 2016 and who, at the time of lodging an application, have resided in Australia for at least five years.

They will need to meet certain criteria, including contributing to Australia, demonstrated through income tax returns which show taxable income at least equivalent to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for the qualifying period and meeting mandatory health, character and security checks.

New Zealand citizens who are granted this visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after a period of 12 months (in addition to the five years as an eligible New Zealand SCV holder).

Further information about the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) stream can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website at: http://www.border.gov.au/Visasupport/Pages/an-additional-pathway.aspx

Applicants who applied for the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa before 1 July 2017 will be considered under the points-tested stream. 

The requirements and application process for the points-tested stream remain unchanged.