Visas in Australia that may be available New Zealanders
Currently, there are more than 90 various visa subclasses.
Each has their own set of criteria and range in purpose. Visas are divided into four groups known as;
1. Permanent visas
2. Temporary visas
3. Bridging visas
4. Protection and humanitarian visas
Every lawful non-citizen in Australia holds a visa class of some kind, regardless of when and how they entered Australia.
Before being granted a visa, all visa applicants need to meet eligibility criteria. This can include character and health requirements.
For us as New Zealanders, we are very unique in the simple fact that most of us have never physically applied for a visa in order to come and live in Australia. Rather, we present our New Zealand passport to customs and we are automatically granted a visa, called a Special Category Visa (SCV), subclass TY444, each time we enter Australia. This is an automated system and we are not advised of this visa therefore, we tend to not even know we have a visa, let alone what conditions are attached to it either.
This visa allows us to live and work in Australia indefinitely but our visa status is we are temporary residents only and this can become a greater problem as time goes by.
Because the SCV is an indefinite temporary visa, there is no process or pathway that converts an SCV into a permanent visa, ever. For example, a NZ infant arrives and is granted an SCV. This child can live their whole life in Australia and remain a temporary visa holder for the entire time - even if they were fortunate enough to live to 100 years old!
Some New Zealanders are defined as Eligible New Zealand Citizens, also known as Protected Special Category Visa holders. This group of New Zealanders do not need to apply for a permanent visa if they wish to apply for Australian citizenship. These New Zealanders are also able to receive Centrelink payments. However, technically under migration law, they are still deemed temporary residents, but under citizenship law they are considered permanent residents which is where a lot of the confusion happens!
The challenge for many of us as New Zealanders who came to live in Australia after the 26th February is accessing citizenship so that we can secure our future, our investments and our families.