Historic Day for Kiwis living in Australia; citizens rights restored
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed Australia’s historic decision to provide a new direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia, saying it will bring the two countries closer together.
Australian Prime Minister Albanese made the announcement this morning, in the 50th anniversary year of the trans-Tasman travel arrangement, which allows each country’s people to live and work in the other country.
“This is the biggest improvement in the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia in a generation and restores most of the rights Kiwis had in Australia before they were revoked in 2001,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Successive New Zealand Prime Ministers have advocated for this change for two decades. It’s pleasing that the close relationship between leaders of two like-minded governments was instrumental in reaching this outcome.
“Today’s announcement brings our nations closer together. It underscores the strength and breadth of the bonds between our countries ahead of my visit this weekend.
“These changes will make a real and meaningful difference to the lives of many New Zealanders and their children by giving those who decide to take up Australian citizenship similar rights to Australians living in New Zealand.
“Kiwis taking up Australian citizenship will still retain their New Zealand citizenship. These dual citizens are not lost to New Zealand – but draw us closer together.”
“It will apply to Kiwis on temporary, special category, visas who have arrived since 2001 and lived in Australia for four years and meet the standard criteria for citizenship including character checks and intention to reside in Australia.
“Children born in Australia since 1 July 2022 to a New Zealand parent living there will also automatically be entitled to citizenship. This will make critical services available to them.
“Most of us know someone who’s moved across the Tasman. They work hard, pay taxes and deserve a fair go. These changes deliver that and reverse erosions that have taken place over 20 years.”
The announcement delivers on Prime Minister Albanese’s commitment that no New Zealander should be left ‘permanently temporary’ in Australia.
“I acknowledge and thank Prime Minister Albanese for his instrumental role in prioritising these improvements.
“This visit was deliberately timed to be on the closest weekend to Anzac Day to reinforce our two countries’ unique Anzac bonds.
“I will be officially celebrating the new policy alongside Prime Minister Albanese at a citizenship ceremony in Brisbane tomorrow, followed by a community barbeque.
“Prime Minister Albanese and I will also visit a cemetery in Brisbane to attend the unveiling of plaques for the previously unmarked graves of soldiers who served during the two World Wars.
“The unveiling is the result of a joint project between the New Zealand Remembrance Army and the Australian Remembrance Army and is a poignant and fitting way to mark our Anzac Day connection during the visit.
“The graves of New Zealand soldiers have been identified at the ceremony and brass plaques installed so that their service contribution is remembered.
“New Zealand will hold a parallel event in Havelock, Marlborough, on Anzac Day to unveil the grave of an Australian Infantry Force private.”
The pathway to citizenship:
- Rights come into effect on 1 July, 2023.
- Applies to Kiwis on temporary, special category, visas who have lived in Australia for four years, and meet the standard Australian citizenship criteria (e.g. pass a character check, adequate knowledge of Australia, a basic English competency, will continue to reside in or have a connection with Australia) and attend a citizenship ceremony.
- Is retrospective. Those in Australia since 2001 will be able to apply directly for citizenship without gaining permanent residence first.
- Is affordable (the fee is A$490).
- Has no minimum income requirement or health requirement.
- Gives Kiwis access to services and benefits, once they become citizens.
- Allows Kiwi children born in Australia to become citizens at birth (rather than waiting till they turn 10, as they do now).
Applies to New Zealand citizens, including New Zealand citizens from the states and territories within the Realm of New Zealand (the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau).