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Changes for New Zealand citizens

The New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa has been temporarily closed from 10 December 2022 to 1 July 2023. The Government has stated that the temporary pause on new applications will allow the Government to consider future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens in Australia, reflecting the close ties between the two countries.

The Department of Home Affairs has announced that during this period it will seek to finalise the majority of on-hand applications in the New Zealand stream, and has established a dedicated taskforce to prioritise the processing of this caseload.

In addition there have been a number of positive changes for applicants with pending applications for the New Zealand stream, namely:

- Removal of the requirement to have been resident in Australia for at least five years and to have been usually resident on or before 19 February 2016.

- Removal of the requirement to evidence that the applicant meets the income threshold.

- Removal of the health requirement.

- New deeming provisions which provide that a New Zealand citizen, who has held a special category visa and who holds a Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa in the New Zealand stream granted after 31 December 2021 and before 1 July 2023 is taken to have become a permanent resident on 1 January 2022. This will provide earlier access to Australian citizenship for some applicants.

The new concessions recognise that applicants with pending applications are long term residents who have been working here and contributing to Australia’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you require further advice about your application and prospects please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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