Eligible New Zealand Citizens
The title 'Eligible New Zealand Citizen' is a definition and term used in Migration Law and most New Zealand citizens are unaware of it's legal meaning.
An Eligible New Zealand Citizen is more commonly known as a Protected Special Category Visa holder.
Eligible New Zealand Citizens is the legal term used in Migration & Citizenship Legislation (immigration matters) whilst Protected Special Category Visa holders is the legal term used in Social Security Legislation (generally Centrelink entitlements)
These terms are the most important labels for all fellow Kiwis to understand first and foremost, because it helps us to identity a persons' rightful status.
Once our rightful status has been identified it then becomes much easier to understand whether a person can apply directly for citizenship or not.
People who are not ENZC must always apply for a permanent visa before they will ever be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship and full Centrelink entitlements. Note: Entitlements to various Centrelink payments are subject to a Newly arrived residents waiting period
New Zealand citizens may need to be granted a permanent resident visa before Centrelink can look at the time you've spent in Australia. This will happen if you arrive on a New Zealand passport with a Special Category visa.
Due to COVID-19 the newly arrived residents waiting period has been removed for certain payments. Further information is still to be released.
This information is current as of the 29th March 2020.
ENZC has a very specific meaning which at times can seem contradictory and confusing to most.
Bear with me as I try to explain what I mean!
Eligible New Zealand Citizens are:
The holders of the Special Category Visa, subclass TY444, just like every other New Zealander
Technically still temporary visa holders
Able to sponsor certain family members
Also known as a Protected Special Category Visa holders
Eligible to apply directly for citizenship without the need to apply for a permanent visa first
Eligible to apply for all Centrelink payments
Eligible New Zealand Citizens are NOT:
The reason Eligible New Zealand Citizens are not permanent residents is because they hold a temporary visa (TY444)
So despite being treated similar to permanent residents they are not exactly the same as permanent residents because they do not hold a permanent visa
If Eligible New Zealand Citizens have children that are:
Born in Australia, their children are Australian citizens at birth
Born in New Zealand or elsewhere, their children are ordinary Special Category Visa holders who are 'Non-protected'
To be assessed as an Eligible New Zealand citizen one must be able to say 'Yes' to at least one of the criteria below:
Present in Australia on the 26th February 2001 as a New Zealand citizen
Present in Australia for a total of 365 days between 26th February 1999 and 26th February 2001
Arrived in Australia from the 27th February 2001 to 25th May 2001 and applied for or contacted Centrelink before the 26th February 2004. Most Kiwis would have received a 'Centrelink Letter' to confirm if this was the case. If a Kiwi no longer has this letter they may call International Services in Hobart to request another copy of this letter on 131 673.
Finally, an Eligible New Zealand Citizen never loses their status, regardless of length of time spent outside of Australia. They also do not need to meet the 4 year residency requirement for citizenship provided they entered Australia within 8 years of making an application and did not leave Australia for more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately before applying.
If you are still grossly confused, don't worry, you're not alone!
Attached is a video I made to try to explain what it all means. Good luck!