NZ citizen pathway to permanent residence

New Zealand Citizen pathways to Permanent Residence

New Zealand Citizens are generally eligible to live and work in Australia on the subclass 444 visa. This visa is generally granted automatically at passport control (NB NZ citizens do still need to meet character and health criteria) and remains valid until you exit Australia. Members of a New Zealand citizens family may be eligible for a subclass 461 visa. Both these visa provide the holder with temporary residence within Australia.

Many New Zealand citizens have lived in Australia for many years and/or wish to remain in Australia on a permanent basis and enjoy the benefits provided to permanent residents. There are a number of ways that 444 and 461 visa holders can obtain permanent residency.


Please feel welcome to Contact us to discuss how we might assist your needs.


Additional Skilled New Zealand Permanent Residence VisaNew Zealand Permanent Residence Visa - as of 1st July 2017

As of the 1st July 2017 a new visa pathway to Permanent Residence has been opened to New Zealand Citizens who have shown commitment and contribution to Australia. This was announced by the government on the 19th February 2016 the government announced a new pathway for New Zealand Special Category visa holders already in Australia.

Eligibility requirements for this visa include the following:

  • A NZ Citizen holding a Subclass 444/SCV visa
  • Was ordinarily resident in Australia on 19th February 2016
  • Can show at least 5 years contribution and commitment to Australia immediately prior to application (earning at taxable income of at least TSMIT, currently $53,900)
  • Meet health and Character criteria

Note that 'dependent' immediate family members (spouse/partner and dependent children) can be included within the application.

The DIBP have estimated approximately 60,000 – 70,000 of the 140,000 post 2001 SCV holders who have been in Australia for at least five years are expected to be eligible to apply for this visa option. ​

For further details on this pathway please see our page on the Skilled New Zealand Permanent Residence Visa

Previous Residence In Australia

There are a number of key dates in respect of previous residence in Australia for New Zealand citizens whereby under certain circumstances you may be eligible under other options is you meet one of the following::

  • if on 19th February 2016 you were living and working in Australia, and can show at least 5 years contribution and commitment to Australia immediately prior to application (earning at taxable income of at least TSMIT, currently $53,900)
  • if you spent time in Australia prior to 1 September 1994
  • were in Australia on 26 February 2001(on a SCV), or had spent a total of 12 months in Australia in the 2 years prior to that date
  • were born in Australia and lived in Australia up to the age of 10
  • born in Australia between 26 Jan 1949 & 19 Aug 1986
  • born in Australia between 1 Sept 1994 and 26 Feb 2001 and held a permanent or SCV visa

Pathway to Permanent Residence

NZ citizen or 461visa holders can also apply for visas in the same manner as other international applicants if they meet the eligibility requirements, details of these are provided below. Visa options within the employer sponsored and skilled independent options generally require the visa applicant to meet the skills and qualification requirements of an occupation that is in demand in Australia (a copy of this list can be found by following the points calculator link below). Some concessions have been provided to New Zealand visa holders in the employer sponsored stream assuming they meet the eligibility requirements, including having worked for their employer for 2 years in the nominated occupation.

This page provides a brief overview of potential pathways available, depending upon your circumstances other options may also be open to you.

Employer sponsored 'direct route' after 2 years, as a NZ citizen or 461 visa holder

If you are currently working in Australia as the holder of a 444 or 461 visa and have been working with your employer for 2 years your employer may be able to sponsor you for permanent residence visa for Australia, without the need to undertake a skills assessment. Taylor Made Immigration is happy to provide professional assistance to New Zealand citizens or 461 visa holders visa holders and their employers including advice on potential pathways to permanent residency.

Alternative options NZ visa holders might consider to obtain Permanent Residence

It you are looking to make your stay in Australia permanent and are eligible to obtain a skilled visa the added security of obtaining permanent residence deserves serious consideration. NZ citizen or 461visa holders can also apply for visas in the same manner as other international applicants if they meet the eligibility requirements. For example:

Depending upon your circumstances there may be other options open to you not covered on this page such as business, retirement, partner or parent visa options.