New Zealand Citizen Visas

New Zealand Citizens can travel to Australia and remain here indefinitely with full work rights.

However, they are not eligible for the full range of government benefits or for Australian citizenship.

If you are an NZ citizen, you would generally receive a Special Category Subclass 444 Visa (or SCV) on arrival to Australia. Whilst this visa allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely with full work rights, it is considered a temporary visa only and is subject to some serious limitations.

NZ citizens are eligible for some government payments (e.g. Medicare, certain Centrelink payments). However, they are not eligible for others – such as unemployment benefits or HECS-HELP loans for university education

NZ citizens are not in general eligible for Australian citizenship, and so are not eligible to vote in Australia and certain jobs will not be open to them. They are also not able to sponsor relatives for permanent visas such as partner. or parent visas.

Australian Visa Advice can share their knowledge and experience to assist NZ citizens to obtain permanent resident status and therefore gain a much more secure status in Australia.

Permanent Residency options available to NZ citizens are:

Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) stream visa  
This pathway is for New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) holders who were usually resident in Australia on or before 19 February 2016 and who, at the time of lodging an application, have resided in Australia for at least five years.
These new arrangements will give many New Zealand citizens permanent residence status, if they meet certain criteria, including:

  • contributing to Australia, demonstrated through income tax returns which show taxable income at least equivalent to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for the qualifying period; and
  • mandatory health, character and security checks.
  • New Zealand citizens who are granted this visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after a period of 12 months (in addition to the five years as an eligible New Zealand SCV holder). The applicants partner and children can be included in the application.

Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)  
The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) is a permanent employer sponsored visa which has concessions for NZ citizens working in Australia.

There is a specific pathway for NZ citizens who have worked for their Australian employer in an occupation on the Employer Sponsored Occupations List for 2 of the last 3 years. In this case, you are exempt from the usual skills assessment requirement for the Direct Entry ENS stream, and also the usual age requirement (currently the maximum age limit is 45 for the ENS visa).

Australian Visa advice can also support non-New Zealand citizens, who are partners of NZ citizens, to obtain 5-year temporary residency visas.


Australian Visa advice can also support non-New Zealand citizens, who are partners of NZ citizens, to obtain 5-year temporary residency visas.

The following visa is suitable in such circumstances

New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (subclass 461) visas  
New Zealand citizens can obtain New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (subclass 461) visas for their non New Zealand citizen partners and children.

To obtain the subclass 461 visa the New Zealand citizen needs to hold a Special Category Subclass 444 visa or be eligible for one on arrival in Australia.

The subclass 461 visa is a low cost, 5-year temporary visa with full work and travel rights and can be renewed upon expiry.