New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holders to benefit from new pathway to Australian Permanent Residence
In recognition of the special relationship between Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Government has announced an additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holders. This additional visa pathway will be available from 1 July 2017. It will allow eligible SCV holders to apply for permanent residency and consequently citizenship.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible you must be the holder of a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and before 19 February 2016.
This visa will fall under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program. It is open to SCV holders who have lived in Australia for the last five years and have contributed to Australia and earned an income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT).
What are the requirements?
- You must be the holder of a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder who has arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 but on or before 19 February 2016.
- You must be resident in Australia for five years immediately prior to the application.
- You must demonstrate through income tax returns (Notice of Assessment) that your taxable income is at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT). This is currently set at AUD53,900.
- You must meet health and character requirements.
I do not meet the income requirements. Can I still qualify for this pathway?
Limited exemptions to the income test requirement will apply for particularly vulnerable New Zealand citizens. Exemptions may also be available for persons on maternity/paternity leave whose income fell below the required threshold during that period. The mandatory residence criterion and all other relevant criteria will still need to be met before a visa could be granted.
How much will the visa cost?
The visa application charge (VAC) will be consistent with the GSM program. Eligible applicants will only need to pay 20% of the VAC when they lodge the application and the remainder before for the visa is granted. The current VAC for GSM is set at AUD3,600 per primary applicant with an additional AUD1,800 for partners, AUD1,800 per dependent child over 18 and AUD900 per child under 18.
Can I apply for Australian citizenship?
New Zealanders who obtain Australian permanent residency through this pathway will usually be able to apply for citizenship after one year of permanent residence, provided they meet the allowable overseas absences requirement and other citizenship requirements.