Up to 350,000 foreigners get instant access to Australian citizenship as Anthony Albanese announces major rule change
- Up to 350,000 kiwis to become an Australian citizen
- From July, they can apply for citizenship directly
- Kiwis must have lived in Australia for four years
Up to 350,000 New Zealanders can apply directly for Australian citizenship without first having permanent residency.
Kiwis who arrived in Australia after 2001 will be eligible to apply from 1 July 2023.
Holders of a special category visa can apply for Australian citizenship as long as they have lived in the country for four years and meet the other entry requirements.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will make the announcement on Saturday, coinciding with his New Zealand counterpart Chris Hipkins’ visit to Australia.
“Australia and New Zealand have a deep friendship, forged by our history, shared values and common vision,” said Mr Albanese.
“We know that many New Zealanders are here on a Special Category Visa, raising families, working and building their lives in Australia.
“So I’m proud to offer the benefits of citizenship.”
The changes will bring Australia’s treatment of New Zealanders into line with New Zealand’s treatment of Australians.
Up to 350,000 New Zealanders can apply directly for Australian citizenship without first having permanent residency. A woman enjoys Australia Day in Perth
Sandy Boyce and her husband (pictured) have lived in Australia for over 15 years and this weekend will be one step closer to citizenship
Sandy Boyce has lived in Australia for 15 years, and spent nearly a decade fighting to become an Australian citizen.
The New Zealander made the move to the Tasman Sea in 2008 to join her husband, and despite planning early on to stay here for just a few years, she soon fell in love with the country and settled she located in Perth.
Now approaching 60 years old and with a grandchild, she and her husband want a clear and direct path to citizenship so they can reap the benefits of the taxes they have dutifully paid for so many years.
Changes in 2001 made it more difficult for Kiwis moving to Australia, such as Ms Boyce, to obtain citizenship.
Ms Boyce said she and her husband had struggled tremendously over the past ten years to make their way to citizenship.
Ms Boyce (pictured) has lived in Australia for 15 years and spent nearly a decade fighting to become an Australian citizen
“I don’t plan on going back to New Zealand, I just want to be a citizen here,” she told NCA NewsWire.
“I want to know I can become a citizen, I can stay here – get a pension, get a senior card like everyone else.
“I’m not looking for the moon of government — I just want an easier path to citizenship.”
She said she had tried to become a civilian for years, but she was constantly moving between departments and could never find answers.
“It’s just gotten too hard,” she said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) will make the announcement on Saturday, coinciding with the visit of his New Zealand counterpart Chris Hipkins (left) to Australia
Mr Albanese said the change would further strengthen the long friendship between the two countries.
“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, I look forward to strengthening our relationship,” he said.
Since February 2001, New Zealand citizens in Australia are considered ‘non-protected’ SCV holders and have limited eligibility for social security benefits.
They are only eligible for those benefits if they obtain citizenship after being granted permanent residency.