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When you arrive in The Lucky Country, if you are from NZ you are automatically granted a SCV (special category visa) that allows you to live and work in Australia for as long as you want. But if you want the same rights and benefits as an Australian, you need to become a permanent resident.

Why become a permanent resident?

The visa you receive on arrival, the SCV, is considered a temporary, unprotected visa. This means you don’t have the same rights as a citizen. This includes the inability to access benefits such as the unemployment benefit, a student loan, being unable to work long term for the Government, vote, or join the Australian Defence Force. To qualify for these things, you must become a citizen or permanent residence of Australia.

Once you’ve been a permanent resident for 12 months or more, you can apply to become an Australian citizen. This allows you to:

  • Vote in elections
  • Work in the Australian public service or defence force
  • Become a politician
  • Apply for an Australian passport
  • Be the recipient of Australian official assistance when overseas
  • Register any children born overseas as Australian by descent
  • Access student loans and allowances

Pathway to Citizenship by Conferral

If you arrived in Australia before 26 February 2001, you have an easier path than others. Providing you spent at least 12 months in Aussie on an SCV for the two years before 26 February 2001 or have a Centrelink certificate from before 26 February 2004, this makes you eligible to apply apply for citizenship by conferral. You are not required to become a permanent resident first. You can include your spouse and dependent children under 16 years of age on your application.

australia day citizenship ceremony 2011

Australia Day 2011, Citizenship Ceremony

In order to apply, you must satisfy some basic criteria:

  • You need to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident at the time of your application
  • You must be in Australia for the application process
  • You need to have spent time in Australia and be familiar with the country
  • Intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting connection with Australia when overseas

The process costs AU$285, and is free for children under 16 that apply with the parent. 75% of applications are processed within 16 months, and 90% within 19 months. This time-frame includes the entire process up until the citizenship ceremony.

Apply for Permanent Residency

However, if you arrived after 26 February 2001, you must get permanent residency before becoming a citizen. There are a few ways to do this.

Skilled Independent (subclass 189) (New Zealand) Stream

You are eligible to apply for this if you:

  • Hold an SVC visa
  • Have lived in Australia for five years
  • Have a taxable income over an income threshold of AU$53,900 for four years prior to lodging an application (unless you meet exemption criteria)
  • Meet health, security and character checks
  • Started residing in Australia before 19 February 2016

Exemptions are granted for income thresholds if you were required to stay in Australia due to a family court order, if you were in receipt of injury compensation that would cease if you returned to NZ, or if you took maternity, paternity or carers leave in that time period.

There are two streams for this visa. One is points tested, designed to invite skilled workers to an in-demand profession. For this, you must be under 45 years old and invited to apply. It costs AU$3,755 and most applications take less than a year to process.

The standard process costs AU$3,755 which is charged in two instalments, 20% on application and 80% before the visa is granted. The average processing time is around 14 months.

This process bypasses the need for:

  • English testing
  • Skills assessment
  • Sponsorship by employer

Other permanent residency application options

You can apply for residency under the Family-stream permanent residence visa if you are partner, parent, child or dependent relatives of an Australian citizen OR a NZ Citizen with a protected SCV.

The resident return visa is an option if you were a permanent resident of Australia before 1 September 1994. You also must have spent at least two years of the previous five in Australia. You must meet health, security and health checks and it costs AU$375.

If you were born in Australia between 1 September 1994 and 26 February 2001, have a NZ citizen as a parent then you may be eligible for Australian citizenship. Also, if you were born in Aussie after 27 Feb 2001 to a NZ Citizen who had citizenship or permanent residency, then you may be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Enlist professional assistance

Permanent residency can be a stressful and frustrating process. If the general advice listed above does not assist you, consider seeking professional advice. The Department of Immigration & Border Protection may be able to assist. If you wish someone to walk you through the process, you can use a registered migration agency.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items, one of our experienced moving consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs.

Let Ausmove make your move to Australia easy and stress-free.

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