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The Department of Home Affairs have officially announced the first of many positive changes. A new (direct) pathway to Australian citizenship for our mates from across the ditch! From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for at least four years will be able to apply directly for citizenship without needing to first apply for a permanent visa. Claire O’Neil, take a bow!

This change applies to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa who arrived in Australia after 26 February, 2001. But don’t worry, protected SCV holders can still apply directly for citizenship too. And for those New Zealand citizens who have been living here long-term, their period of permanent residence will be backdated so they can meet the general residence requirement for citizenship.

With effect from 1 July 2023:

  • All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.

Oh, and here’s another exciting bit of news – any child born in Australia on or after July 1, 2022, to a SCV holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth!

Stay tuned for more exciting updates and be sure to Get in touch with our team of experts if you have any questions