Since the 1920s, there have been formal arrangements in place to facilitate the free movement of people between New Zealand and Australia. In 1973, this agreement was formalized with the Trans-Tasmania Travel Arrangement.
It is very important that New Zealand Citizens understand the following critical dates as they will determine their immigration status in Australia and their future pathways.
Arrived before 1st September 1994:
If a New Zealand Citizen entered Australia before the 1st September 1994 (even if just for a holiday) and he/she is currently living in Australia, may be eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa.
Arrived on or before 26th February 2001 (Eligible New Zealand Citizen)
People who resided in Australia on a Subclass 444 on this date, are considered Eligible New Zealand Citizens or “Protected Special category Visa Holders”. These people are Permanent Residents and can apply for Citizenship provided they meet the residency requirement and other criteria.
Benefits of being an Eligible New Zealand Citizen:
- Can be approved to be a sponsor for Partner Visas, Parent Visas, Child Visas, etc.
Arrived on or before 19th February 2001:
People holding a Subclass 444, who were living in Australia on or before this date and have maintained residency for at least 5 years and show taxable income about the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold ($53,900) for the most recent 4 years, can apply for Subclass 189 NZ Stream and become Permanent Residents.
Holders of Subclass 444 who arrived after 19th February 2001:
New Zealand Citizens who arrived in Australia after the 19th February 2001 and hold a Subclass 444, can sponsor their Partners and/or dependent children for a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Subclass 461).
Important Facts about Subclass 461:
- 5-year visa
- Work and study rights
- Onshore or offshore application
- No Permanent Residency pathway
- Can be renewed indefinitely (as long as requirements continue to be met)
- If relationship breaks down, the partner can continue to renew the 461, unless they become the partner of another person
Holders of Subclass 444 or 461
New Zealand Citizens who have been living and working in Australia for at least 2 years out the last 3 years, working for the same employer, could be sponsored for Permanent Residency visa under Subclass 186 Direct Entry. Your employer will need to nominate you. Benefits:
- You will not need to be under 45
- You will not need to provide skills assessment
- You still need to show that your occupation is on the relevant list
- Your position must be genuine
You can find more information about meeting the Family Violence Provisions on the Department of Home Affairs’ website: