Details of New Pathway to Permanent Residency for New Zealand Citizens
Details of the new pathway to Australian permanent residency for New Zealand citizens, which was originally announced by the Australian Government on 19 February 2016, are now available!
Amendments to Schedule 2 of the Migration Regulations 1994 and a new legislative instrument (IMMI 17/035) came into force on 1 July 2017 in order to introduce this pathway.
Here is the story:
The pathway will be available through a "New Zealand stream" of the Subclass 189 visa - Skilled Independent.
The pathway is available for New Zealand citizens who have been "usually resident" in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately before the application.
The continuous period of usual residence must have commenced on or before the date that the new pathway was announced, 19 February 2016. This of course means that New Zealand citizens who began a period of residence in Australia after 19 February 2016 will not be eligible to take advantage of this pathway.
Unless they are able to avail themselves of an exemption under the legislative instrument, NZ citizens will need to establish that they earned at least the "Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold" or "TSMIT", for the following years:
- 2011 – 2012: $49,330
- 2012 – 2013 : $51,400
- 2013- 2014 and succeeding years through 2016 – 2017: $53,900
Applicants will need to provide proof of their income to the Department in the form of notices of assessment, or amended notices of assessment, issued by the Commissioner of Taxation in relation to the 4 most recently completed income years before the date of the application.
Exemptions to the threshold income requirement will be available to the following cohorts:
- Holders of Special Category Subclass 444 visas who were unable to meet the income requirements for any period during the 5 years immediately before making an application because they were prevented from leaving Australia to return to New Zealand because the Family Court of Australia had assigned primary care of a child to the applicant and placed restrictions on the applicant from removing the child from Australia;
- Holders of Subclass 444 visas who were unable to meet the income requirement during any of the 5 years immediately before making the application because they were receiving compensation for an injury which prevented them from earning at or above the threshold and their ongoing rehabilitation or any compensation would have been discontinued if they had returned to New Zealand;
- Holders of Subclass 444 visas who were unable to meet the requirement for any period during the 5 years before making their application because they were on an approved period of parental or carer’s leave from their usual employment; immediately prior to the period of leave, had an annual income that met the threshold for the relevant income year; and have resumed, or are expected within a reasonable period, to resume earning an income that is no less than the income threshold.
A further requirement for the grant of the new visa is that applicants, and all members of the family unit who are applicants for the visa, must satisfy the health criteria of Public Interest Criterion 4007. This means that "health waivers" would be available to applicants and family members even if they suffer from a disease or condition that would be likely to require health care or community services that would be likely to result in a significant cost to the Australian community or to prejudice the access of Australian citizens or permanent residents to health care and community services so long as the cost or prejudice would not be "undue".