Game changing citizenship requirement changes for NZ citizens

From the 1st of July 2023, all New Zealand (NZ) citizens who are granted a special category visa (SCV) will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes. This will mean that all SCV holders will have a direct pathway to apply for Australian Citizenship without becoming permanent residents first. This is under the condition that the requirement of four years of residence and other eligibility requirements are met. In our view, this is a monumental shift in citizenship requirements, with a game-changing effect on NZ citizens who have made Australia their home.

Ordinarily, to meet the general residence requirement for the purpose of citizenship by conferral, an applicant must be lawfully present in Australia for four years, including 12 months as a permanent resident, immediately before the date of application. 

The changes that will take 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 permanent residents for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.

The above provisions will apply to New Zealand citizens in Australia as well as New Zealand citizens who are overseas but held an SCV before leaving Australia. 

These changes will impact children who are born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to an SCV holder as they will automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth. 

The change will ultimately bring about new opportunities for New Zealand citizens and their children born on-shore, and will finally reward SCV holders who have lived in Australia for an extended period of time so as to receive the benefits associated with citizenship and be valued as  part of the Australian community. 

M Legal’s lawyers’ experience makes us well-equipped to help provide clarity on this entire process. With our knowledge, we can assist you with your next Australian Citizenship application and put the most robust case together for you to make this work easier for you.

If you found this article useful, give us a call and book your consultation with M Legal today!

Written by Sarah Mathew on behalf of M Legal’s lawyers