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Good News For New Zealand Residents: Australia Getting Closer To Removing Disadvantages

3 Sep 2014 / Amanda Wu

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Good News For New Zealand Residents: Australia Getting Closer To Removing Disadvantages

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Australia’s immigration rules that apply to residents from New Zealand may be changing in the near future. Migration usually means a better life for most people, but the immigration rules in Australia have put many residents at a disadvantage. John Key is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He has talked about the issues facing New Zealand residents in Australia with Joe Hockey, who is the Australian treasurer. One of the issues that the two discussed was the fact that New Zealand residents who live in Australia are required to pay taxes, but they are not eligible for social housing, disability care or other types of welfare.

The rules affect about 300,000 residents from New Zealand who have a special category visa. Key believes that some changes are getting ready to be made. He also said that Hockey seemed surprised by the fact that many disabled children from New Zealand are not getting the support that they deserve.

Key stated that under the current rules, a disabled child born in Australia to parents from New Zealand will not be able to get state support until his or her 10th birthday. The reason that those rules apply is because the child is not a resident or citizen of Australia. However, even though the child is not a resident or citizen, he or she will still be eligible for state support after he or she turns 10.

Key believes that this rule is unfair to both parents and children. He also stated that the rules do not make any sense because the state would eventually be paying to support the child. Children should be able to get as much support as they need.

Hockey agrees that with the issues that Key brought up during the meeting. He will study the cost of making those changes. The migration rules for New Zealanders are different from those of other nationalities. They automatically have the right to live and work in Australia, which are rights that are not granted to people from other countries. This means that if a person comes to Australia with a New Zealand passport, then they will most likely receive a Special Category Visa, or SCV.

With a Special Category Visa, people are able to reside and work in Australia as long as they remain a citizen of New Zealand. In addition to being a citizen of New Zealand and possessing a passport from New Zealand, people must meet certain character and health requirements. They must also complete an incoming passenger card.

New Zealanders are eligible to get health care, baby bonus, child care and family tax. However, they are not able to get social housing, disability allowances and other types of welfare benefits. In order for a New Zealander to be eligible for youth payments, sickness and other allowances, the person must live in Australia for a minimum of 10 years. However, if the visa holder has lived in Australia prior to February 27, 2001, then this time will not count towards the required 10 years.


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Amanda Wu

Chief Legal Officer