The Low Down!
New Zealand citizens living in Australia, how confusing is the process of deciding to become a citizen of Australia? Not only can all the jargon and acronyms make you want to yawn right off the bat, but it’s all just so confusing, it seems the goal posts are moved regularly, prices altered and almost everyone’s situations are different. It is no secret media agencies concerned with traffic and website clicks like to produce regular scaremongering articles amongst our community.
All it takes is a headline like ‘disadvantaged kiwis’ or ‘kiwis in Australia targeted again’ and we all quickly share that across multiple platforms and before you know it, many of us are left confused, angry and sometimes… misinformed.
It is no secret that NZRelo has a huge reach across social media in both countries, our own traffic hits 140,000 users monthly and increasing, so it’s no surprise that we can breakdown the usual questions and scenarios that make this topic so mind boggling! Lets look at some of them…
- Capital gains on property enforced, is this happening?
- Can I get Centrelink assistance?
- I have convictions, by applying will I get in trouble or bring attention to my status here if I apply because I did not declare my charges when I entered
- My wife worked full-time but I looked after the kids, will I be able to make applications?
- I am due to retire soon should I retire here in Australia or NZ, what are my options?
- Is dual citizenship applicable still? I don’t want to lose being a kiwi
- Why should I even apply, what do I get?
Finally, we have a ‘licensed’ migration firm as a partner, they can now provide you with a free consult, you can just give them a call and explain your situation, however confusing it may be, they can set you straight and layout your options clearly. It’s exceptionally important to understand that licensed immigration agents are legally registered to give you the correct information. What they do is remove the grey area so you can feel truly comfortable in your decisions. This area of our lives needs to be laid out in black & white, serious decisions like residency should never be a bunch of ‘if a, coulda, shoulda’s’, simply heading to FAQ area of a website doesn’t give you the respect you deserve. Picking up the phone is the best way to get started!
What Is A Registered Migration Agent?
Immigration assistance (under section 276 of the Migration Act 1958) is when a person uses or claims to use knowledge of, or experience in migration procedure to assist with visa applications or other visa matters by:
- preparing, or helping to prepare, a visa application or other document
- advising about a visa application or visa matter
- preparing for proceedings before a court or review authority in relation to a visa application or visa matter
- representing in proceedings before a court or review authority in relation to a visa application or visa matter.
Immigration assistance does not include:
- Doing clerical work to prepare (or help to prepare) an application or other document
- Providing translation or interpretation services to help prepare an application or other document
- Advising another person that they must apply for a visa
- Passing on to another person information produced by a third person, without giving substantial comment on or explanation of the information.
Be careful of unlawful operators pretending to be registered migration agents. Always check this website to make sure you are using a registered migration agent
Ever Thought About Becoming An Australian Citizen?
New Zealanders living in Australia who arrived after February 2001 could be forgiven for being reluctant to start the process for Australian citizenship. The pathways available were broadly the same as for other migrants, with some small concessions. Also, as with other migrants, NZ citizens had to get permanent residency before they could apply for Australian citizenship. Many NZ citizens either were not eligible for the permanent residency or didn’t want to commit the significant financial investment into the process.
The Good News!
Fortunately, good news is in store. As of 1 July 2017, the path to Australian citizenship will be that much clearer for NZ citizens with the introduction of a permanent residence visa stream just for New Zealanders. This new visa category is aimed at NZ citizens who arrived in Australia between 26 February 2001 and 19 February 2016. The news is a breath of fresh air at a time when the ANZAC relationship has been strained by Australia’s treatment of NZ deportees, plans to increase university fees for NZ citizens in 2018, and both country’s calls to put New Zealanders or Australians first for jobs.
Both NZ and Australia permit dual citizenship so there is no need to give up your NZ citizenship to acquire Australian citizenship. As the Australian government continues to restrict non-citizens access to public services, benefits and tightens migration more generally, it is an opportune time to re-consider becoming an Aussie.
Permanent Residency Requirements
So, what are the requirements for the permanent residency:
- No age limit
- ‘Usually resident’ in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately before the date of application, including being ‘usually resident’ as at 19 February 2016
- An income above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) (currently $53,900) for each year in the 5-year period
- Meet health, character, security and immigration history criteria
- Exemptions to income requirement available in limited circumstances
The government charges for a single applicant will be $3600 plus about $500 in related fees for medicals and police checks. Lower costs apply for partners and children. In a rare concession, the Department of Immigration will also accept a reduced upfront payment for the visa application with the main fee to be paid at the time of decision.
Processing times are expected to be 3-6 months.
NZ citizens who are granted this visa are expected to be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after a further period of 12 months (in addition to the five years usually resident in Australia prior to obtaining the permanent residency). The details of the one-year pathway to citizenship are likely to be released later in the year.
How We Can Help
Hammond Taylor are Australian immigration lawyers and agents who have been operating in the industry for over 10 years assisting NZ citizens and thousands of other migrants secure their future in Australia. We offer a professional, hassle-free and affordable service.
Contact our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents for advice and assistance with your circumstances on +61 3 9044 9265, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more information.
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