Are you a New Zealand citizen living and working in Australia and would you like to apply for Permanent Residence? You may be interested in a 189 Visa. There are two different streams within the 189 visa – these are the Points-tested stream and the New Zealand stream. The Points-tested stream allows invited workers with skills needed in Australia to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia, whereas the New Zealand stream allows eligible New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated their commitment and contribution to Australia to live and work in Australia permanently. Here’s what you should know about the New Zealand stream.
Eligible New Zealand citizens can apply for the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) under the New Zealand Stream. Unlike its point-tested counterpart, visa applicants will not need to submit an Expression of Interest to be invited by the Government before applying for this visa. Specific requirements for points, skills and English language are also not applicable for people applying under the New Zealand stream. This visa stream provides a pathway for New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia to access Permanent Residence, in acknowledgement of the close relationship ties between both neighbouring countries.
The New Zealand stream is open to New Zealand Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa holders who have lived continuously in Australia for at least the last 5 years and who began living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016. In most cases, the visa applicant will have to have a taxable income at or above a specific income threshold for each of the required income years before lodging their 189 Visa application.
Like for many other visas, the Department of Home Affairs requires the main applicant and any dependent family members who apply for the visa to meet specific health and character requirements. The applicants may need to have health examinations to prove they meet the health requirement. To prove that the applicants have good character, the Department may also request documents such as police certificates.
Apart from meeting the health and character requirements, the visa applicants will also need to pay any debts to the Australian Government if funds are owed. All applicants who are 18 years or older must also read and sign the Australian Values Statement. Applicants who had a visa cancelled or refused while they were in Australia may be ineligible for this visa. You should seek professional migration advice if this applies to your circumstances.
New Zealand 189 Visa applicants can include their spouse and/or dependent children in their application. Conditions and age limits apply. They may be able to be included at the time the visa is lodged or before the visa decision is made by the Department of Home Affairs.
The main applicant must be in Australia and hold a Subclass 444 visa when the visa application is lodged. Family members included in the application can be onshore or offshore when they apply.
Once the New Zealand 189 Visa is granted, it allows the visa holders to stay in Australia indefinitely as this is a permanent visa. Therefore, they can live, work and study in Australia, enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme, Medicare, sponsor eligible relatives to come to Australia, and apply for Australian citizenship if eligible. They can also travel to and from Australia as many times as they like for 5 years from the date this visa is granted and apply for a Resident Return Visa after 5 years if they want to travel after the initial 5-year travel provision (although international travel restrictions during the pandemic may apply).
Our migration agents would be happy to assess your eligibility for Australian Permanent Residence through the New Zealand 189 Visa. We begin by reviewing factors such as your living arrangements in Australia and financial information and then advise on the options available and requirements for applying. During a consultation, our migration agent will also provide advice on any visa conditions that you may need to be aware of so you can make a more informed decision. After the consultation, you can choose to engage our services to manage your visa application and receive ongoing advice on how to prepare the evidence requirements. We can also assist with Australian Citizenship if you are eligible. To understand your visa options to migrate to Australia, we encourage you to get in touch with Interstaff’s registered migration agents.
“I want to say thank you to the Interstaff team for assisting us through the 186 Visa process – especially when we had questions and your team were quick to answer them. I would recommend Interstaff to anyone in need of a migration agent. I’d give them 10/10. Once again, thank you to your team for an excellent job.”
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