Accelerated pathway to citizenship for New Zealand citizens who hold a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa

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There is no doubt that Australia and New Zealand have always had a very close and special relationship however, there has been considerable criticism over the years as to the pathway to Australian citizenship for a New Zealander who may have lived in Australia for an extended period and often for most of their lives.

The introduction of the New Zealand stream Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa in recent times was a welcomed change.

However a recent announcement by the Australian government has accelerated the pathway to citizenship.

As of 1 January 2023, a New Zealand citizen who was granted a subclass 189 visa between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022 will have their permanent residence period for Australian citizenship purposes backdated to 1 January 2022.

This will allow the New Zealand citizen to apply for Australian citizenship immediately upon the grant of the Subclass 189.

This means you now longer have to wait 12 months from the grant of your permanent visa to apply for your Australian citizenship.

You are still required to meet the residence requirement which is that you:

  • have been living in Australia on a valid Australian visa for 4 years immediately before you apply; and
  • not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in the past 4 years. This includes no more than 90 days in the year before you apply.

Additionally you still will need to meet the other eligibility requirements which include:

  • Character
  • Knowledge of Australia
  • Language
  • Close and continuing link to Australia

Family members who hold a Subclass 189 visa will also be eligible.

It is believed this new regulation will clear approximately 11,500 applications in the system.

This change of regulations flows on from an announcement by the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese in July 2022 when he stated he would announce improved pathways to citizenship and permanent residency by Anzac Day 2023.

The Prime Minister stated that he didn’t “want people to be temporary residents forever”.

This is just the start we think of more solutions to ensure New Zealand citizens can gain a pathway to permanent residency in Australia quicker.

New Zealand citizens play an important role in the Australian economy and did so through the pandemic which the Australian government has acknowledged.

How can FC Lawyers help New Zealand citizens?

With over 25 years of experience in migration law our team of experts can assist you with all your citizenship requirements. 

We have assisted literally hundreds of New Zealand citizens over the years to gain Australian citizenship.

Contact us today to discuss any of your migration needs or if you have questions regarding Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens.

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