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Australia Announces New Citizenship Programme ~ Australian PR and Citizenship

Australia Opens A New Citizenship Pathway

An accelerated pathway for New Zealanders to seek Australian citizenship is being provided by the government of Australia. Needless to say, this decision indicates the close ties between the two countries while complimenting the positive contributions of New Zealanders to Australia.

As a result, the permanent residence period for New Zealand stream Skilled Independent visa holders who have had a Special Category visa in the past will start from 1 January 2023, ultimately helping them seek Australian citizenship. This will be backdated to 1 January 2022.

So, why is the Australian government backdating this? Well, this is being done so that New Zealand citizens holding permanent residency in Australia can immediately apply for Australian citizenship without having to wait 12 months to become eligible.

Eligibility Criteria for Australian Citizenship

As far as the eligibility is concerned, New Zealand citizens holding Skilled Independent, subclass 189, visas who have also had a Special Category, subclass 444, visa in the past are eligible. However, applicants must confirm their eligibility before starting the application process.

You can find the standard residence criteria for acquiring Australian citizenship through conferral in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. As per the criteria, an applicant needs to lawfully live in Australia for 4 years. Plus, out of those 4 years, the applicant must have spent at least a year living in Australia as a permanent resident before submitting their citizenship application.

Does the New Australian Citizenship Pathway for New Zealanders Include Family?

The accelerated pathway includes only those family members of applicants who have a Skilled Independent visa.

The children of some Special Category visa holders who are born in Australia are also eligible for the permanent residence grant. Moreover, Children born in Australia between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2023 whose parents were able to acquire the Skilled Independent visa during the same period can become Australian citizens by birth. It also makes those children eligible to seek proof of citizenship.

The Australian government is assessing more immigration and citizenship options for New Zealand citizens living in Australia at the moment. More details about this will come to light with time.

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