Changes for NZ Citizens visa pathways to Australia effective 1 July 2023

Starting July 1 2023, the Australian Government permanently closed the New Zealand Stream (SC 189) visa.


This move is part of the government’s effort to streamline the visa system and align it with changes in citizenship eligibility for New Zealand citizens living in Australia.


This closure has several consequences for New Zealand citizens seeking to migrate to Australia:


  • Those already in Australia on a ‘temporary visa’ must explore alternative routes to gain permanent residence, such as the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa or become eligible for Australian citizenship by meeting the required period of stay.
  • Bringing family members to Australia will become more challenging due to stricter GSM visa requirements.


A new pathway for New Zealand citizens to obtain Australian citizenship has also been introduced. From July 1, 2023, those residing in Australia for four or more years can directly apply for Australian citizenship without needing a prior permanent visa. To be eligible, they must meet specific residency and character requirements.


This means that all New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (SC 444) visa are eligible for citizenship by conferral. These changes apply to citizenship applications submitted on or after July 1, 2023.


The backdating of permanent residence for subclass 444 visa holders will affect children born to them. Any child born in Australia on or after July 1, 2022, to a subclass 444 visa holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth. Those meeting these criteria can apply for evidence of citizenship from July 1, 2023.


This new pathway grants New Zealand citizens in Australia easier access to Australian citizenship, providing them with the same rights and privileges as Australian citizens.


In conclusion, the closure of the New Zealand Stream (SC 189) visa and the introduction of this new pathway mark significant developments for New Zealand citizens in Australia.


If you are a New Zealand citizen seeking to migrate to Australia or interested in obtaining Australian citizenship, it is advisable to consult an immigration lawyer or migration agent to explore your options.


Prestige Legal Group are a boutique immigration legal firm based in Australia. We have assisted individuals and businesses achieve successful visa and citizenship applications. We are dedicated to delivering top-tier legal assistance and ensuring the best results for our clients. Should you require assistance, please contact us directly.

Our experienced immigration specialists can make all the difference, talk to us about your matter with ease and let us assist you in navigating to a successful outcome. Give us a call at +61 3 9125 8872  or Contact Us online.

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