On 1 July 2017, there were a few legislative changes that effect New Zealand (NZ) Citizens. These include changes to the:
- New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) (Subclass 461) visa; and
- Independent Skilled (Subclass 189) visas.
Let’s begin with the changes to the Subclass 461 visa.
The Australian Government now stipulates that ‘eligible NZ Citizens’ can no longer sponsor their partners under the Subclass 461 visa. Rather, they are required to sponsor their partner through the Australia Partner visa scheme. This being a Partner (Subclass 820/801) visa, Partner (Subclass 309/100) visa or Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300) visa.
You are considered an eligible New Zealand Citizen (or ‘protected special category visa holder’) if you were residing in Australia on 26 February 2001. There are also exemptions if you were residing in Australia prior to this date and were temporarily absent or arrived within the three months after this date.
If you require clarification as to whether you would be considered an eligible NZ citizen, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Essentially, if you are an eligible NZ Citizen you can now only sponsor your partner for an Australian Partner visa. Meaning, you are now ineligible to sponsor them through the Subclass 461 pathway.
If you are not considered an eligible NZ Citizen, then you must continue to sponsor your partner through the Subclass 461 visa.
It’s important to note that Australian Partner visas have pathways to permanent residency, whilst the Subclass 461 has no such transition. This is an exceptional benefit to eligible NZ Citizens, but the cost of a Partner visa is $7,000.00 in comparison to the cost of $330.00 for a Subclass 461.
On a more exciting note, a new stream has been introduced for NZ Citizens in the Independent Skilled (Subclass 189) visa pathway.
In order to be eligible, an NZ Citizen must have been holding a Subclass 444 and have been usually resident in Australia for an ongoing period of five years. This period must have started on or before 19 February 2016.
The NZ Citizen is required to demonstrate their working contribution to Australia over the last five years and that they have met the minimum income threshold.
You can include family members in this application and it is now pathway to Australian permanent residency and subsequently Australian citizenship.
If you have any queries regarding sponsoring your spouse or whether you are eligible for the Subclass 189 permanent residency pathway, please don’t hesitate to contact our office – ua.mo1521615654c.noi1521615654targi1521615654mssal1521615654ctsri1521615654f@ell1521615654ehcim1521615654