By Ricky Matthew
SYDNEY – There are many reasons for thinking of making the move to Australia – better climate, better pay, tax breaks, the affordability of living and housing. But a thorny issue for Kiwis living in Australian has been the lack of a direct pathway to citizenship even after living across the ditch for years, paying taxes there and for all intents and purposes being no different from other migrants to the country.
Now Australia’s historic decision to provide a new direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia will bring the two countries closer together, says Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
Australian Prime Minister Albanese made the announcement this morning, in the 50th anniversary year of the trans-Tasman travel arrangement, which allows each country’s people to live and work in the other country.
“This is the biggest improvement in the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia in a generation and restores most of the rights Kiwis had in Australia before they were revoked in 2001,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Successive New Zealand Prime Ministers have advocated for this change for two decades. It’s pleasing that the close relationship between leaders of two like-minded governments was instrumental in reaching this outcome.
“Today’s announcement brings our nations closer together. It underscores the strength and breadth of the bonds between our countries ahead of my visit this weekend.
“These changes will make a real and meaningful difference to the lives of many New Zealanders and their children by giving those who decide to take up Australian citizenship similar rights to Australians living in New Zealand.
“Kiwis taking up Australian citizenship will still retain their New Zealand citizenship. These dual citizens are not lost to New Zealand – but draw us closer together.”
“It will apply to Kiwis on temporary, special category, visas who have arrived since 2001 and lived in Australia for four years and meet the standard criteria for citizenship including character checks and intention to reside in Australia.
“Children born in Australia since 1 July 2022 to a New Zealand parent living there will also automatically be entitled to citizenship. This will make critical services available to them.
“Most of us know someone who’s moved across the Tasman. They work hard, pay taxes and deserve a fair go. These changes deliver that and reverse erosions that have taken place over 20 years.”