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Significant Changes to Pathways for New Zealand Citizens in Australia


From 10 December 2022, the New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa was closed to new applicants, meaning that no new applications will be accepted by the Department of Home Affairs until 1 July 2023. The Department advised that this temporary pause on New Zealand citizenship applications was for a number of reasons, including to allow the Government to consider future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand Citizens in Australia.


Though the program is closed to new applications, fortunately for those with pending applications under this program, this means that the Department is actively working to clear the backlog of applications. Current processing times are estimated at approximately 2 years, meaning there are currently several New Zealand Citizens in Australia who have been waiting for a long time for their permanent residency application to be processed.

The Department has allocated priority processing to these applications, with a designated taskforce implemented to ensure most pending applications are finalised by 1 July 2023.

To aid the processing of these applications, the Department has also introduced a number of streamlining measures for these pending applications. These measures have been implemented with a view to recognise the contributions of those New Zealand Citizens with pending applications who have been long-term residents of Australia and to assist in expediting the processing of these applications. During the temporary closure, the following requirements no longer apply to those who have already submitted a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa in the New Zealand stream:

  • There is no longer a requirement to demonstrate a minimum period of residence in Australia
  • The income threshold has been removed
  • The health requirement does not need to be satisfied

These changes are made possible by the Migration Amendment (Subclass 189 Visas—New Zealand Stream) Regulations 2022, which is in effect from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023.


The Department has not yet made further announcements as to what the future for New Zealand Citizens in Australia will look like; however, this announcement signals change is on the horizon for the immigration landscape between the two countries. However, many New Zealand Citizens in Australia find themselves in a period of uncertainty, with the future unclear for what options will be available moving forward.

Though no further guidance is available as yet, it is expected that further announcements will be made before 1 July 2023, in order to outline what visa pathways will look like for New Zealand Citizens in Australia moving forward.



If you are looking to seek advice as to your immigration position at this time and moving forward, All Access Migration can assist you. We are a migration legal advisory firm and can arrange an initial consultation to assist you in navigating the options available for your circumstances.


Please contact us for further information regarding our team at AAM and how we can help/

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance to the subject matter and must not be relied on as legal advice. Specific advice should be sought about your circumstances.

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