New Zealand citizens are in a unique position under Australian immigration law. All New Zealand citizens who arrive in Australia since 26th February 2001 automatically obtain a special category visa (SCV subclass 444). Whilst the SCV allows you to live and work in Australia indefinitely, it is not permanent residency visa and is not a pathway to Australian citizenship.
SCV holders are not entitled to Australian government benefits, including Centrelink, Commonwealth supported university places, HECS loans (although some concessions now available for HECS) and admission to the Australian Defence Forces or employment in the Australian Public Service.
If you are a New Zealand citizen and were present in Australia on 26 February 2001 (or 1 of the two years prior to) then you are considered an eligible New Zealand citizen, which is essentially equivalent to Australian permanent residency.
In some circumstances if you were present in Australia at some point prior to 1 September 1994 you may be able to obtain a subclass 155 Resident Return visa. If you are eligible, the advantage of this approach is that it costs little and is processed quickly. Also, if you want to obtain permanent residency for children and spouses, once you are a permanent resident there are a range of options to sponsor family members so that they can also obtain their permanent residency.
Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss the options for your family to obtain permanent residency.