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By Haruna Kobayashi, for ExpatBriefing.com
01 May, 2017
New Zealand's Prime Minister, Bill English, has expressed disappointment at recent changes to Australia's citizenship laws that mean New Zealand citizens will have to wait longer to become Australian citizens.
Those applying must have been permanently resident in Australia for at least four years. Previously just one year of permanent residence was required.
The requirement applies to New Zealand citizens and is said to be contrary to an understanding between the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand to streamline the pathway to Australian citizenship for many New Zealanders who have lived in Australia for at least five years.
Under that agreement, from July 1, 2017, New Zealand Special Category visa holders who arrived in Australia between February 26, 2001, and February 19, 2016, can apply for permanent residence provided they have lived in Australia for the last five years, earned AUD53,900 a year during that period, and shown a commitment and contribution to Australia. Thereafter, permanent resident holders were eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after one year of permanent residence.
Approximately 60,000 – 70,000 of the 140,000 post-2001 Special Category visa holders, who have been in Australia for at least five years, are expected to be eligible for the new pathway to permanent residence commencing July 1, 2017. The recent citizenship law changes now mean successful permanent resident visa applicants from New Zealand will have to wait a further three years before applying for citizenship.
It is understood the New Zealand Government is working to ensure Australia's new citizenship changes do not affect New Zealand citizens using the streamlined pathway to Australian citizenship.
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