02 May 2023
The announcement we have been waiting for has finally been made. On 22 April 2023, the Australian Government announced a new direct pathway for eligible New Zealand citizens to apply for Australian citizenship. While the legislation is yet to be released, the Government has provided important information about the changes.
From 1 July 2023, eligible New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for at least four years can apply for Australian citizenship. An eligible New Zealand citizen is the holder of a Special Category Visa (SCV).
To be eligible for Australian citizenship under the current requirements, you must be of good character and have been lawfully resident in Australia for at least four years, including at least 12 months as a permanent resident before submitting an application. You are allowed to have periods of absence from Australia but they must not add up to more than 12 months in the past four years and no more than three months in the 12 months before lodging your citizenship application.
Eligible New Zealand citizens whose SCV was granted before 1 July 2022 will be deemed permanent residents from 1 July 2022. This means that provided they satisfy the four-year residence requirement, they should be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship from 1 July 2023. Those who arrived after 1 July 2022 will be permanent residents for citizenship purposes from the date they were granted their SCVs and will need to wait four years to satisfy the residence requirement.
Additionally, from 1 July 2023, any child born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to a SCV holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth. Evidence of Australian citizenship can be applied for from 1 July 2023.
We will continue to monitor for updates regarding this new pathway. If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, please get in touch with a member of our team below.
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.