Australia plans to fast track citizenship for resident New Zealanders
Last week, the Australian federal government announced plans to offer a direct pathway to citizenship for resident New Zealanders. Prior to 2001, New Zealanders were automatically given permanent residency when they settled in Australia. This was altered so that new arrivals were placed on a “Special Category Visa” which required New Zealand citizens to apply for Australian permanent residency before seeking citizenship (while also placing limits on their access to social welfare and various benefits).
Under the new rules, resident New Zealanders who arrived after 2001 will be able to apply for Australian citizenship, without having to apply for permanent residency, if they have lived in Australia for four years and have met the other standard eligibility criteria. It is estimated that there are currently around 600,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia. The new rules will go into effect in July 2023.