Are you a New Zealand Citizen seeking Permanent Residency?
New Zealanders are in a unique position under Australian immigration law.
All New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001
automatically obtain a special category visa (subclass 444) upon entry to Australia. The application for this visa is the incoming passenger card that you complete when you arrive at an Australian airport. Whilst the 444 visa allows you to live and work in Australia indefinitely, it is not a permanent residency visa and it does not provide a direct pathway to citizenship. New Zealand citizens on a 444 visa have significant limitations on a range of entitlements to Australian government benefits, including Centrelink, Commonwealth supported university places, HECS loans and admission to the Australian Defence Forces.
If you are a New Zealand citizen and present in Australia on 26 February 2001
(or 1 of the two years prior to) then you are considered an eligible New Zealand citizen, which is equivalent to Australian permanent residency. This provides a pathway directly to citizenship. If you are unsure about your movements in and out of Australia at around that time you can complete a Form 1359
and lodge to the Department of Immigration to find out this information.
If you hold a 444 visa, there are options to gain permanent residency. You can pursue a skilled, family or employer sponsored visa option however it is important to remember that once you turn 40 many of these options start to become much more difficult.
In some circumstances if you were present in Australia at some point prior to 1 September 1994
you may be able to obtain a subclass 155 Resident Return visa. We have successfully assisted many New Zealand citizens to obtain permanent residency using this pathway. If you are eligible, the advantage of this approach is that it costs little and is processed quickly. Also, if you want to obtain permanent residency for children and spouses, once you are a permanent resident there are a range of options to sponsor family members so that they can also obtain their permanent residency.
Call us today
so we can assess the best pathway for you to permanent residency.