Immigrate to Australia from New Zealand

November 17, 2023
Myer Lipschitz

Understanding the Special Category Visa (SCV)

The Special Category Visa (SCV) is a unique type of visa designed for New Zealand citizens who want to live, work, or study in Australia. This visa allows eligible New Zealanders to reside in Australia indefinitely while maintaining their New Zealand citizenship.

SCV and Subclass 444

The SCV falls under the Subclass 444 visa category, which permits New Zealand citizens to travel to and stay in Australia without applying for a separate visa. This visa is granted automatically upon arrival in Australia and is managed electronically, meaning there is no need for a physical visa label or certificate.

Eligibility Requirements for SCV

To be eligible for an SCV, New Zealand citizens must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a valid New Zealand passport
  • Be of good health and character
  • Not pose a security risk to Australia

It is important to note that while the SCV allows for unlimited stay in Australia, it does not grant the holder Australian citizenship or permanent residency. Therefore, New Zealand citizens with an SCV may face certain restrictions in areas such as social security benefits and government assistance.

Connection between New Zealanders and SCV

Since 1994, the SCV has made it relatively easy for New Zealanders to move to, live in, and work in Australia. Both Australia and New Zealand share strong cultural, economic, and geographic ties, and the SCV facilitates the free movement of people between the two countries.

Over the years, a significant number of New Zealand citizens have taken advantage of the SCV to live and work in Australia, contributing to the Australian economy and strengthening the bond between the two nations. However, it is crucial for New Zealanders planning to immigrate to Australia to understand the rights and limitations associated with the Special Category Visa.

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

Initiating Immigration Process: Key Steps

Considering Immigration Fees

When planning to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand, it is essential to take into account the various fees involved in the process. These may include visa application fees, as well as fees associated with skill assessments, health examinations, and police checks. Knowing these costs upfront can help you budget and prepare for a smoother immigration experience.

Relevance of New Zealand Passport

Having a valid New Zealand passport plays a crucial role in the immigration process. A current passport allows you to make use of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, which permits citizens of both countries to travel and work in each other’s territories without a visa. However, if you wish to become a permanent resident or access certain benefits in Australia, you will need to apply for a specific visa category.

Ensuring Good Character and Security

When immigrating to Australia, proving good character and maintaining security is a priority. To satisfy these requirements, applicants must:

  • Obtain a police certificate: This document proves that the applicant has no criminal record in New Zealand and is vital to the immigration process.
  • Pass health examinations: Applicants may need to complete a series of health checks to meet Australian immigration standards and protect public health.
  • Show financial stability: Demonstrating financial stability can reassure Australian officials that you are capable of supporting yourself and contribute to the Australian economy.

Addressing these key aspects in your immigration journey can lead to a more efficient and streamlined experience. Understanding the associated fees, the role of your New Zealand passport and the importance of good character and security will help facilitate a successful relocation to Australia.

Life in Australia

Life in Australia offers numerous opportunities and a high standard of living. It is a diverse and multicultural country, with residents originating from various parts of the world. The Australian lifestyle is relaxed, and the cities are known for their safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure.

The cost of living in Australia is slightly higher than in New Zealand, but this is generally offset by higher wages. Australians enjoy a strong economy and a competitive job market, making it an attractive destination for New Zealanders seeking career advancement.

Australia’s climate varies from region to region. The southern parts are cooler, with temperate weather, while the north experiences warmer, tropical conditions. There is a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy, from surfing and snorkelling in coastal areas to hiking and camping in the rugged outback. This contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of the residents.

Australia has a robust education system, with numerous prestigious universities and institutions. It places a strong emphasis on providing quality education, making it popular among international students.

The healthcare system in Australia is efficient and well-funded. Australians have access to both public and private healthcare, with a strong focus on prevention and early detection.

Overall, life in Australia presents a balanced mix of quality living, career growth, and recreational opportunities, making it an attractive option for New Zealanders considering immigrating.

Permanent Residency in Australia

Transitioning From SCV to Permanent Residency

New Zealand citizens living in Australia on a Special Category Visa (SCV) may decide to become permanent residents. To do so, they must apply for a specific permanent visa, such as a Skilled Independent Visa or a Direct Pathway visa. Upon obtaining permanent residency, they can enjoy the same rights, benefits, and obligations as native-born Australians, except for the right to vote.

Before being granted permanent residency, applicants must meet various requirements, including meeting health, character, and security criteria. They should also be aware that eligibility for social security payments may be limited until they become Australian citizens.

Direct Pathway and Skilled Independent Visa

There are two main pathways for New Zealand citizens to obtain permanent residency in Australia: the Direct Pathway and the Skilled Independent Visa.

  1. Direct Pathway: The Direct Pathway is for New Zealand citizens who have lived in Australia for at least five years and have a taxable income at or above a specified threshold for at least four years. The Department of Home Affairs assesses applicants based on their income, skills, and the ongoing need for their occupation in Australia. Successful applicants are granted an Australian permanent visa.
  2. Skilled Independent Visa: The Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) is suitable for individuals with occupations listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Applicants must score high on the points test and must also obtain a positive skills assessment from an authorised assessing body. They must be aged under 45 and possess advanced English language skills.

Path to Australian Citizenship

Eligibility for Australian Citizenship

To become an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizens must first meet specific eligibility criteria. The primary requirement is holding a permanent residency status in Australia. Applying for and obtaining a permanent visa, such as the Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa or the Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated Visa, can help New Zealanders achieve this status. Applicants must also satisfy the residence requirement, which consists of living in Australia on a valid visa for a total of four years.

Four-Year Residence and Citizenship Ceremony

The four-year residence rule states that before applying, a person must have lived in Australia lawfully on any visa for at least four years, with a total of 12 months as a permanent resident. They should ensure that they have not spent more than 12 months outside Australia during this period. After meeting these requirements, eligible individuals can apply for Australian citizenship.

Upon acceptance, applicants will participate in a citizenship ceremony where they will take the Australian Citizenship Pledge. This ceremony is a vital step in formalising their status as an Australian citizen, and it symbolises their commitment to upholding the responsibilities and privileges associated with Australian citizenship.

Benefits of Obtaining Australian Citizenship

Becoming an Australian citizen provides several benefits and entitlements. Australian citizens enjoy full voting rights, which enables them to participate in shaping the country’s future through the democratic process. They also have access to an Australian passport, making international travel more accessible.

Furthermore, citizenship provides the security of permanent residency, ensuring that individuals will no longer be subject to deportation under specific circumstances. Also, Australian citizens can seek assistance from Australian embassies or consulates abroad if they encounter difficulties while travelling.

For detailed guidance on immigrating to Australia from other locations, please refer to our other guides: Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, USA, New Zealand, UK, Singapore, South Africa.

Speak to our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne to arrange a consultation.

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

myer lipschitz


Myer Lipschitz

Myer Lipschitz was born in Johannesburg and is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1985 he was conferred the degree Bachelor of Laws. Myer completed his Articles of Clerkship with Ivor Trackman, Attorneys and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1988. Myer immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 and was admitted to practice law in New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand...

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