New Zealanders in Australia: What’s the Problem?

In last week’s post about Americans in Australia I announced that it would be the last of my “… in Australia” series. At the time I thought it was. Then I got an email this week from a New Zealander asking about how his pension might work if he were to move here to Australia and whether or not he required permanent residency.

Of course, I couldn’t help him; I’m not an expert in these matters. But it did remind me of an email I got a few months ago from someone asking me to look into discrimination against New Zealanders in Australia.

So today I decided to take a look into how and why New Zealanders, affectionately known as Kiwis here, are discriminated against and in doing so I have extended this series with…

New Zealanders in Australia

New Zealand flagSo, the problem is if you have arrived after February 2001 you won’t get unemployment benefit if you lose your job, you will not get access to disability services in some states, you won’t get disaster relief fund money if you are caught in a disaster, your children will not get student loans or allowances, well, actually, this video explains it all…

Seems harsh, doesn’t it?

So I decided to look into this a little further over at the Australian government’s immigration website, because, as far as I understood it, New Zealanders could move to Australia quite easily due to a special arrangement between our two countries.

What I discovered was the Australian government’s fact sheet number 17.

Special Category Visa

The Special Category visa (SCV) is a temporary visa specifically for New Zealand citizens. Basically, if I understand it correctly, a New Zealand citizen can come to Australia and present a valid New Zealand passport along with incoming passenger card and by doing so would be considered to have applied for a visa.

Subject to health and character requirements, the SCV would be granted and the New Zealand citizen would be allowed to live and work in Australia for as long as they liked. They can return to New Zealand whenever they want and if they decide to come back to Australia, they would again be granted the SCV.

The problem

Prior to 26 February 2001 these SCV holders got the same rights as permanent residents in Australia, but since then the rules have changed. SCV holders are now regarded as temporary visa holders and as such do not have the same rights as has been pointed out in the above YouTube video.

The solution

The solution would appear to be for these New Zealanders to apply for permanent residency and then ultimately Australian citizenship. How easy or hard that might be, I don’t know.

Is it fair?

On the one hand you could argue that all a New Zealander has to do is turn up in Australia with a valid passport and they can stay indefinitely; that’s not discrimination.

On the other hand though, it appears that Australian citizens and permanent residents can just as easily move to New Zealand. Those who decide to do so will enjoy the same rights as New Zealand citizens.

So yes, it does seem a little unfair.

For the record though, something like 647,000 New Zealanders are currently living in Australia whereas only 65,000 Australians are in New Zealand. With numbers like that, it’s clear to see why the Australian government are reluctant to offer full rights to those here on a SCV.

Anybody considering moving here from New Zealand on an SCV who are concerned about the above-mentioned restrictions should spend a little time researching the subject and maybe investigating what it takes to apply for permanent residency.

It could be time well spent. But now it’s…

Time for a laugh

Anyway, this wouldn’t be one of my “… in Australia” posts if it didn’t have a comedian and here’s our favourite New Zealanders with a hilarious New Zealand tribute; it’s the Flight of the Conchords. Watch out for a cameo performance from last week’s featured American comedian, Arj Barker…

Update: February 2016

There has been an interesting development, seems the Australian Government are making some changes. I am grateful to John in the comments below for this additional information, please click here to read what he has to say.

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{ 57 comments… add one }
  • Sharon August 6, 2016, 6:29 pm | Link

    Hi i am a kiwi that has lived on & off in australia for the past 30 years, 2009 i was recruited to live and work in australia, 6 weeks later i was involved in a car accident. i was a passenger in a Taxi, i kept working untill i realised my injuries were serious, so i went to a doctor and was informed that i had to inform a lawyer and fill out a police report. i was told this is the procedure in Australia,i niave and in a heap of pain followed advice, i was not cleared for work i thought thats okay i will get better! I lived off my savings i was also informed by my lawyer i was not allowed to leave Australia! Result lawyer went on for 7 years it became about money for them i just wanted to be healed i did not care about the money i did get a pay out $35000 lawer recieved $48,000 i have been homeless and am about to become homeless again ,I still cannot leave Australia as now my spine has seperated i am to waiting on the public waiting list while what my lawyer did not cover before he retired which he was suppose to and i have paid him for is still going through the legal system new laywers new fee’s. kicker Australia will not help finacially havnt been here continously for 10 years ( when i have visted New zealand in total 3 times for a few days my residency is taken from when i last flew in they dont care how many funerals you have to attend (2) New zealand wont help they say i have been over here for too long and if i return to NZ and apply for a pension waiting list 1 year. the system is faulty the law system is faulty! had i returned to NZ which i wanted to so i could recieve treatmeant i would of been elgible to pay lawyers fee’s!

    • BobinOz August 7, 2016, 9:20 pm | Link

      Sounds horrible. I’m not sure why the taxi company or the person responsible for causing the accident with that taxi were not held accountable for all the legal and medical fees associated with your injury.

      I’m also not sure this is really a case of bad treatment to New Zealanders in Australia, sounds more like you’ve been receiving bad advice throughout. I do hope you get it all sorted out though. Could luck, Bob

  • John February 23, 2016, 12:31 pm | Link

    As of a few days ago The Australian government corrected the situation for about half of the estimated 150,000 Kiwis living in Australia since 2001 permanently on the SCV 444 the temporary yet permanent residency so called work Visa.

    http://www.border.gov.au/Visasupport/Pages/an-additional-pathway.aspx

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/19/australian-deal-with-new-zealand-paves-way-for-more-kiwis-to-become-citizens

    The thresholds for applying for PR is very low, so its pleasing to see a large step has been made, some will likely however choose not to take it up, while other unfortunately will not meet the criteria especially those on the lower socioeconomic end of the equation.

    That said the root of the problem still exists, Its very clear the Aus government is well aware there is a problem with the SCV 444 but still refuses to either end it, put a time limit on it, or fix it, choosing a Band-Aid option instead.

    • BobinOz February 23, 2016, 6:12 pm | Link

      Thanks for the update John and the links. It seems to me to be a pretty good compromise on the current situation and should be very welcomed by a large number of New Zealanders who will be able to qualify for citizenship under this new scheme.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Jay January 21, 2016, 11:18 am | Link

    Hey Bob, im a fit 26 year old male, wanting to work hard in your beautiful country.Im moving to Sydney in one month and just curious as to having outstanding fines ( traffic and parking fines only, just over $1000 in total). Im currently paying them off and will continue to while im living there. Is there any way immigration can stop me at the airport?

    • Darren January 21, 2016, 12:01 pm | Link

      My understanding (from when I was living in NZ) is that they can stop a Kiwi from leaving NZ if you have outstanding fines in NZ. If they are Aussie fines I’ve no idea.

  • OWEN HANNAGAN January 4, 2016, 10:06 pm | Link

    IF ALL KIWIS HAD TO GO THRU THE PROPER HEALTH AND CLEARANCE CHECKS REQUIRED FROM ALL OTHER MIGRANTS AUSTRALIA WOULDN’T HAVE THIS HUGE KIWI PROBLEM..HOW MANY KIWI MIGRANTS HAD A FULL MEDICAL EXAM TO PASS BEFORE THEY CAME HERE ?? HOW MANY KIWIS HAD A COMPLETE POLICE CHECK BEFORE THEY CAME HERE..?? EVERYBODY ELSE DID AND THAT IS ONE OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS.. ALL MIGRANTS SHOULD BE TREATED EQUALLY..
    YOU DIDN’T MENTION THAT ALL OTHER MIGRANTS HAVE TO PAY HUGE FEES AS WELL AS PROVING THEY CAN SUPPORT THEMSELVES FINANCIALLY FOR THE FIRST TWO YEARS…

    • BobinOz January 5, 2016, 8:52 pm | Link

      Turn the caps lock off, nobody wants to speak with Mr Shouty!

    • 1d10tcomments February 23, 2016, 7:56 am | Link

      Owen – So the fact NZ was formerly known as the Isles of New South Wales and just like Queensland was also part of New South Wales not that long ago & like Queensland was also governed by and from NSW you think the Isles of New South Wales should now be treated like just some other other country? i suppose we should just forget about our anzac brotherhood and all the other ancestral ties, or the fact nz holds aus citizens in such high regard and respect they do not put arbitrary rules in place to prevent trans-Tasman migration. 1000’s of aus citizen living and working quite happily in NZ with no need for bureaucratic shenanigans. Do you want your rights removed to access a stunning holiday / work destination over a health check?

      • BobinOz February 23, 2016, 5:58 pm | Link

        Owen has tried to answer your comment, just as he has tried to add many comments to this page. Unfortunately Owen is simply outright racist and hates New Zealanders and just wants to spread his hatred here.

        That’s why he is banned. So no point in engaging him in conversation, it’s a waste of time.

  • herb smith August 19, 2015, 11:44 pm | Link

    Bob
    I think yre great to share yre knowledge and experience
    im a kiwi looking to move to australia and urgently need advise on what I need to do to retain my nz pension
    I would really appreciate meeting with someone or being put in touch woith somkne who has moved over and gone through the necessary process
    im not good at computer it stufff a d find it difficult to research on line
    I’m glad I found you
    would be so grateful for any assistance you can provide
    thanks so much
    🙂

    • Pete August 19, 2015, 11:59 pm | Link

      Herb, there should be no problem with your pension, check out this info on the nz govt webpage.

      http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/how-we-can-help-you/travelling-or-migrating/social-security-agreements/australia.html

      You should just have a chat with work and income: talking to them with not affect your entitlement.

      Keep in mind that nz pension wont go that far in australia so i hope you already have family to live with.

      Also find out about medicare etc.

      • John2014 September 8, 2015, 1:54 pm | Link

        Pete a couple of things to add touching on a few thing in your blog..

        1. Christchurch Earthquakes caused a spike in immigration from 2012 to late 2013 the highest ever way above the long term average!. During this time the NZ economy was looking up and Australia was looking increasingly shaky, so its the opposite trend to what you would expect if its all about economics.

        2. Queensland 2011 floods, this event really highlighted the issues in the bilateral agreement with the Queensland government refusing help to even very long term Kiwi residents, at least until it hit the mainstream media. As you can imagine many Kiwis quickly realised no democratic rights or government support can be a issue especially with events outside their control. With the emotional effects of the CHCH Earthquakes fading you can imagine many Kiwis rethinking their position for the long term.

        3. NZ has actually has had HIGHER “employment participation rate” than Australia for the better part of a decade!. Kiwis coming for jobs they can’t get at home is largely a complete myth here in Australia..Successive Aussie governments have hidden unemployment in the 800,000 people on the disability benefit, one cannot directly compare those headline manipulated unemployment rates.

        4. 30% higher wages (leaving now lagging mining out of this), well yes it true , but Australia capital cities are now more expensive than most locations in NZ, keeping in mind most Kiwis live in small towns and cities that are cheaper to live in. We all know Hobart is cheaper to live in than Sydney with lower wages, its much the same thing.

        5. A “big part” of the 2001 Changes was Australian irritation over Pacific Islanders using NZ as a back door into Aus, its on record. Although there is little doubt that occurred, one questions how “much” of a problem it really was. Some Aussies don’t seem to realise there are MANY 2nd, 3rd+ generation Islanders here, they did not all come through NZ.

        Aussies are welcome in NZ and can gain citizenship after 5 years with the original Bilateral agreement and it should never change.

        As for Kiwis in Aus that are not on the SOL and or don’t like the imbalance,I guess its the old like it or leave!.

  • jen June 22, 2015, 10:39 am | Link

    This is really interesting, and I think it’s cropping up more and more these days. We’ve just published an article with a detailed look at the developments on this sissue since this page was published. Thanks Bob for providing a really valuable resource!
    http://www.overseaspackers.com.au/blog/why-are-so-many-kiwis-moving-back-to-new-zealand/

    • BobinOz June 23, 2015, 4:36 pm | Link

      Interesting article Jen, the numbers speak for themselves. Thanks for posting the link, Bob

  • Ddon June 19, 2015, 12:00 pm | Link

    Darren

    You certainly seem to have wide knowledge on immigrations.
    A simple question. If no dual citizenship allowed, and no euro zone allowed, where do you see yourself?

  • john June 14, 2015, 9:37 am | Link

    With regards to applying Australian Permanent residency with New Zealand passport, do we still need to take ielts english test ?

    • BobinOz June 15, 2015, 12:37 am | Link

      According to the Australian governments immigration website exemptions include…

      *Holding a passport for the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand.

      So it looks as though you’re good 🙂

  • Darren January 9, 2014, 5:23 pm | Link

    Sorry for lowering the tone of the the discussion, Bob (and to Pete and John). A case of idle hands on my part today. Most of it was hopefully just a bit of tongue-in-cheek banter.

    Regardless of my views on the SCV (which amount to nothing in the scheme of things), Kiwi readers may be pleased to know that in a October 2013 poll on the Sydney Morning Herald website 57% agreed with giving Kiwis automatic PR and access to welfare payments. 38% percent voted no and 5% were not sure.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/no-change-to-new-zealanders-rights-20131002-2uswa.html

    If, as the poll suggests, Australians are actually in support of changes, and given the fact that PM Tony Abbot’s wife is from the Hutt Valley, this may mean that Kiwis will get a better deal on this side of the Tasman in the future.

    • John January 9, 2014, 6:16 pm | Link

      Looks like I owe you Darren a apology for calling you a Australian. I am quite taken back to be honest having a number of UK friends and old workmates back in NZ, never heard anything like the extent what was posted, but its normal from a Aussie, well at least online.

      Back on Topic, We nearly meet on a few things #1 at least.

      1. Behind closed doors I believe the NZ government would prefer the bilateral agreement ends.

      2. Australia would prefer not to change anything, its mostly in Australia’s favour.

      The SCV is a permanent residency visa AND classed as a legal temporary visa so its a oxymoron which in itself is ludicrous, we are both right.

      How long can a Kiwi live in Australia on the SCV

      1. 1 year

      2. 5 years

      3. Indefinitely / permanently

      The correct answer is of course 3, but wait its a temporary Visa 😛

      Australia is supposed to be advanced developed society, in 2014 it simply cannot have permanent residents (description only) with less rights than others regardless of the morality argument “they chose to come here” which of course is correct from high up there where the person passing judgement is perfect and the world is black and white.

      If they can’t have full rights (are not on the skilled shortage list) then make it so they cant come. If you decide they are a big benefit anyway then give
      them full rights!

      The NZ government has no power to fix the problem, its on the Australian side.

      I don’t really like the welfare thing being constantly mentioned as the core issue when its not, but considering how it was worded the result is a tad surprising.

      • Darren January 9, 2014, 7:24 pm | Link

        No offense taken on being called an Australian, I’ve been called worse :). Also I never meant to run NZ and especially Kiwis, themselves, down. I didn’t get on over there, but I know loads of folks that do, so it’s probably more to do with me than NZ!

        The SCV is such a honey trap, especially for folks that want to join their friends and family in Australia. It’s an offer too good to refuse, and I totally understand that. But, I’m completely torn about what to do about it.

        On one hand you have a load of Kiwis already here, so you can’t tell them to go home and you can’t (if it is to be addressed) just let a load of Kiwis continue to exist in limbo. So there’s a tough problem there.

        In the future, yes, I think it is fair to carry out some sort of skills assessment on Kiwis wanting to come here. It will keep some of the “extremists” 🙂 happy and ensure that those that come have a good chance of employment when they get here.

        Then is that “problem” of people using NZ as a backdoor to Australia (which does happen- I know some). Probably not an issue for NZ who will get a bit of cash from them on the way through, but a potential political hurdle in Oz all the same.

        The welfare thing can be sorted out the same way it is for other visa holders: the two year waiting period. It will be a dedicated dole bludger than wants to exist on nothing for two years.

        Regardless of the solution (which is going to take someone smarter than me to sort out) I think that we are all on the same page in that the SCV is a pretty sh**ty deal for Kiwis. 🙁

        As a public service, there’s what NZIS has to say about NZers traveling in Oz and the SCV http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/travel-documents/new-zealand.htm

  • Darren January 7, 2014, 2:27 pm | Link

    I was just speaking to someone about this that deals with employee visas. They said that they wouldn’t sponsor a kiwi for a visa as they only sponsor people so that they can work in Oz (which kiwis can, of course). Sounded pretty unfair, but probably makes sense in the business world. They also said that even for 457 visas, they are now being asked by Australian Immigration why do they need to employ someone from overseas.

    As for your hardworking Tongan and Samoan mates, I’m sure that they will do well in Oz. But some of them probably typify the worst thing about the Trans-Tasman agreement in its present form: as they are not PRs or citizens, their kids will not be able to afford to attend Uni and get qualifications to apply for Oz PR/citizenship themselves.

    That is the worse thing about this arrangement: denying kids the right to a decent education in the country that they live in and where their parents pay taxes.

    If I was hard about it, I could always say “tough” to an adult and tell them not come to Australia on a SCV or choose a career on the SOL and get PR, but the kids that come with their parents don’t have that choice.

  • Darren January 7, 2014, 1:23 pm | Link

    I wholly agree with you, Pete.I think we are on the same page. But I think it needs an all or nothing solution. Either cancel the Trans-Tasman agreement altogether so that folks like yourself have the opportunity to get sponsored for OZ PR and have the opportunity to get citizen or have NZ and Oz enter into some sort of common market/merger.

    What you can’t have is a system that allows a Tongan to wave his NZ passport at Oz border control and bed himself in for a life living on the dole on the Gold Coast. Which is what was happening pre-2001. I don’t what to pay NZ’s social security bill, and I don’t expect anyone else in Oz wants to either.

    Also, worth noting is that it is a lot harder to get Australia PR as a skilled migrant than it is NZ PR (and them the passport five years later). Open Australia up to NZ and Australia opens itself up to the world (via NZ).

    Even with Pete. Putting my leftist-union rep hat on (I’m not leftist nor am I a union rep), but why should Pete be employed over an Australian (as his job is not on the SOL)?

    Inversely, why should NZ pay for Pete’s education only for him to jump the Tasman (unless he comes back with all that Aussie cash, wink, wink).

    Is it right that Australia should exploit NZ by using NZ educated skilled people in the workforce without having to pay them dole or letting them vote. Even when they do pay taxes?

    The answers are all no. But the current arrangement is good for NZ (who get a cash injection from all the return kiwis and there Aussie money) and Australia who has constant supply of disposable educated workers on their doorstep. The only people that loose out are people like Pete.

    The sad truth is that whilst I observed NZ continuously comparing itself to Oz, Australia doesn’t really concern itself with NZ. I can’t see Australia making any concessions for NZ. What’s there to gain? What can NZ offer Oz? NZ is barely keeping it’s head above water. Another Christchurch and it’ll be finished.

    The only real solution is to end the trans-Tasman agreement. Everybody would know where they stand then. Labourers from Papatoetoe wouldn’t be exploited by their bosses in Perth and their kiwi kids wouldn’t be excluded from getting a proper education (and it is the kiwi kids that are the real victims of the current arrangement).

    Enough Kiwis bitch on about how the Trans-Tasman agreement goes against their human rights (as a kiwi posted on one forum I was reading) I can see Oz knocking it on the head, anyway.

    • Pete January 7, 2014, 1:49 pm | Link

      Darren, I think your heart is in the right place on this but I disagree on your solution.

      No-one likes a dole bludger but the statistics simply don’t support that even pre-2001 . I can match your anecdote too: a whole lot of my Tongan and Samoan rugby mates are on the gold coast working like demons scaffolding, labouring, painting. The developers I bet are sure glad to have a steady supply of hardworking labour that doesn’t cost too much, as are the unitholders who bought off the plan. Yes, these guys have NZ passports – most of them were born in NZ too. If Australia decided it didn’t want them, they might struggle with the labourers they have left if what I’ve seen on construction sights around Sydney is anything to go by.

      A 2 year or 5 year stand-down on dole etc would be sufficient to limit the effect of any of that stuff on the Aussie taxpayer.

      But in my situation, it is simple. The employer has already given me a job, I’m already in Australia. If I want PR, the best way would be for them to let me apply on my own basis (based on the points I articulated above) and waive the employer sponsorship. I’m not demanding this: it just seems logical. Instead, I’ll probably head on my way in a few years.

    • John January 8, 2014, 4:46 pm | Link

      Hey Darren

      Kiwis prior to 2001 had a higher employment rate in Australia than the national average which was reflected in a Australian government study at the time!, so the dole aspect is heavily over played in the media, its not the main issue behind citizenship, barely on the radar.

      The flow of Capital is NZ to Aus, I am not rich by any standards but I brought around AU$500K when I moved over and know others that took significant wealth out of NZ, so I think you may have the benefit a little in reverse, it is Aus that benefits more from the current arrangement by a mile, skills, brain drain etc.

      Australians have little comprehension how much NZ and Aus are in each others pockets, sure NZ is a lot smaller and “less” important but doesn’t mean Australia has nothing to loose. For example, who is the largest tourist group into Australia, is it Americans? Chinese?

      http://www.carhiresearch.com.au/2012-in-numbers-australian-tourism-statistics/

      I am seeing growing Kiwi discontentment around how Kiwis are being treated and or viewed in Australia and with the NZ economy do better of late and the Aus economy looking down, perhaps Australia wants to rethink this issue and leave out the hysterical media.

      Regards

      John

      • Darren January 8, 2014, 6:02 pm | Link

        I’ve been in Australia for eighteen months after six years living in New Zealand. not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that I’m no longer there. I forever be indebted to Australia for giving me the means to escape Aotearoa. The two countries are incomparable.

        I’m not sure if people are aware of just how much of a poor country NZ actually is. Kiwis make do, living such a compromised existence that it hardly qualifies as a first world country. The spiteful green-eyed envy towards Australia that I witnessed there was appalling. So I think that the former “matey” friendship between the two countries is very much over now.

        When I told my colleagues that I was leaving for Australia the comments were caustic. It was as if I was committing the ultimate personal insult towards NZ. I was told that Australians were all racist, that there was no water and economically Australia was going down.

        When I left it was like a wake, all those faces, all the jealousy.

        Probably justified. My salary package here is about 160% of what I was getting with a car and fuel thrown in. On arrival here I couldn’t believe the variety, the familiar products that I hadn’t seem since leaving the UK. It was like returning from exile.

        Kiwis get by kidding themselves that NZ punches above its weight and actually matters in the world. Well, it doesn’t. And that’s not a bad thing. NZ is a tiny agricultural country and unless John Key starts allowing folks to dig it up that’s all it ever will be. Again, not a bad thing. There’s only 4.5 million kiwis. The population of Sydney. The one thing I always wished of NZ was that it became it’s own man instead of continuously and feebly comparing itself to Australia.

        I don’t think Australia will reconsider the Trans-Tasman agreement, despite what you say, from my first-hand experience I don’t believe that NZ has anything more that it can bring to the table. If nutters like this:
        http://www.specialcategoryvisa.com/subclass444/ continue to go on about Australia discriminating against Kiwis that’ll be the end of the SCV and Kiwis will be going through the Aussie Immigration System like the rest of us.

        Personally, I can’t see how Kiwis are being discriminated against, when they have their own special visa. Although I agree that it is probably “killing them with kindness”. Like I’ve said before, restrictions on NZ kids education is the one that gets me. The adults have the choice.

        As a British/Kiwi passport holder WITH Australian PR (I went to the trouble of independently getting a decent visa so that I can eventually get Australian Citizenship), whilst I don’t like the position that the SCV leaves many kiwis in Oz, I sometimes find it difficult to sympathise with people who want it all handed to them on a plate. In NZ kiwis expect the government to sort out everything for them, that whole cradle to the grave socialist thing, but Australia isn’t NZ. It is a foreign country.

        I’ve been through both the NZ and Oz immigration systems, I did it properly and made sure that my family was going to properly protected. Kiwis take a gamble in coming to Oz like everybody else, it’s just easier for them to come here.

        I think my point about the flow of money is still valid, or do Kiwis return to NZ penniless having failed to make it in Oz? I was talking about folks like Pete who were going to work a few years in Oz, but don’t want to stay in a country that they can’t vote in.

        I really think that more information should be made available to kiwis about the SCV in NZ. A lot of Kiwis were shock when I told them the difference between my rights as an Aussie PR holder and me just using my Kiwi passport to go to Oz. The pittfalls are not well know to kiwis.

        Perhaps NZ Prime Minister John Key should advertise the problem a bit more over there. Probably the only way that he is going to stop the exodus of kiwis escaping NZ (is is still 400 people a week moving to Oz).

        Interesting issue. Next we should discuss the UK’s commonwealth grandfather rule…:)

        • Darren January 8, 2014, 6:38 pm | Link

          I seem to have got a bit on my high horse about this subject. I do feel very conflicted about the SCV situation. I don’t think that it is fair, but it is probably better than nothing for most kiwis who just want to live in Oz. It’s a bit of a honey trap for kiwis (rightfully) wanting to give themselves a better life, and I wonder if the upper echelons of Australian Government know that and willfully exploiting the current draw that Oz has for NZers.

          There should be great awareness raised in NZ so that Kiwis know what they are getting into when they move to Oz without a proper PR visa.

        • John January 9, 2014, 9:05 am | Link

          Hi Darren

          That’s a interesting perspective, a 160% more salary in Australia is a lot higher than the 30% average so I suspect you experience is far from the norm. Can you state exactly what career you were doing in both countries? .

          Here is Brisbane I do get around 34% more salary than in Christchurch NZ for exactly the same position, and in both countries I am/was above the average salary. I estimate cost of living is around 15% more in Brisbane, so i am maybe around 19% ahead overall, that’s not insignificant however never had a problem earning a living in NZ and is not the reason for moving to Aus.

          There is no “people wanting it handed to them on a plate” Aus and NZ negotiated CER for the benefit of both counties and make no mistake Australia does get significant benefit out of the relationship. The SCV is causing issues, both sided of the debate acknowledge this and I think ending it is preferable over its current state, that would only benefit NZ so I am fine with that!

          There are nutters and people that sensationalise /stereotype on both sides of this debate, the Aussie media appear completely incapable of providing ANY facts or balance when they print a story on this issue, its all Maoris and Samoans (portrayed as a beat up) unemployed on the Gold Coast never bother to mention Kiwis have a employment participation rate of 78% and Australian born only 68%, and btw it was higher prior to the 2001 changes!

          Lastly your information is a little outdated, with the Aus economy slowing significantly and NZ picking up dramatically, only around 900 people per month have made the move to Australia in the last quarter which is a fraction of the people that immigrated in to NZ in the same time frame., be interesting to see if this trends down further. NZ has always had a net gain from the rest of the world while loosing some of it to Aus, lets not get to dramatic over the issue.

          FYI NZ Economy in 2014

          http://www.cnbc.com/id/101310930

          http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/new-zealands-cows-come-home-in-its-own-commodities-boom-20131230-302cr.html

          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-18/new-zealand-economic-growth-accelerates-to-fastest-in-four-years.html

          • Darren January 9, 2014, 12:40 pm | Link

            From experience, I think there’s an element of the dramatic every time NZ is compared to Oz. It’s like comparing the UK to Poland.

            Yes NZ may be picking up, but so what? It’s hardly going to ever be some economic powerhouse. It’s a tiny Pacific island nation of only a handful of people that relies on dairy exports, tourism, education and immigration. NZ’s potential is limited. Comparing itself to Australia is quite frankly ridiculous. I wish in would stop doing it and instead be it’s own man.

            Apart from a common heritage, language and location the two countries couldn’t be any different. Even socially (and I’m comparing Kiwis in NZ, not those I’ve met in Oz- who seem to be very different to those back home) Kiwis walk around with a massive chip on their shoulder, insecure and guarded, whilst Aussies really don’t give a monkeys and are pretty damn sure of themselves and their status in the world. I’ve found Aussies to be so much more positive than their Kiwi counterparts.

            As for the ANZAC spirit, well I think that is something for the historians to debate now. Australia and NZ are like apples and oranges, and I think always will be.

            Is the economy really picking up? There’s a construction boom in Christchurch only because the industry is milking that disaster for all it’s worth; those poor people will be suffering for years as the region is bled dry by greedy people hoping to make a quick buck. I wonder if this is the economic growth that it being reported?

            Getting off my high horse (again), a common market between the two countries is probably the way ahead for New Zealanders in/going to Oz. I’m not sure that the NZ government will be happy about it though, as Kiwi kids move to Oz and never come back. From your average Australian’s point of view, unfortunately, I can’t see any reason how they would benefit from closer ties to NZ. I really can’t see that NZ has anything to offer.

            The same goes for making NZ a state of Australia. Would Australians want to have to deal with NZ’s non-nuclear issues with the US Navy. Heaven only knows what would happen with the Treaty of Waitangi (a poorly conceived, but better than nothing, document that I’d imagine the Australian people would like to keep at an arms length for obvious reasons).

            It is good that this issue is being brought to light and that the rocky situation for Kiwis living in Oz is being reported in NZ. If this gives more vulnerable Kiwis the tools that they nee to make an informed decision about moving to Oz then it can only be a good thing. I found this Dominion post article which paints an interesting picture. As always, the comments are more entertaining.

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business/9194476/Not-so-great-and-powerful-Oz

            • Pete January 9, 2014, 1:08 pm | Link

              Sorry Darren, the way you are carrying on seems like you are the one with a huge chip on you shoulder. NZ is not a bad place, certainly good for some, and also certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. Like any small place, the opportunities are limited, although I’ve travelled widely and I have to say that there are a lot of **global** cities which are not immensely superior to Auckland, for example. I don’t really see how all these personal negative experiences you’ve had with NZers are directly relevant to this discussion.

              The logic of the current economic and labour force arrangement is not theoretical, its an established and entrenched situation. So, I think that any discussion presumes that changes would not roll back the basic aspects of the work rights.

              • John January 9, 2014, 2:08 pm | Link

                Pete

                We seem to strike bizarrely over the top anti NZ people in online forums on a frequent basis, in fact a few have made entire NZ hate web sites.

                They usually claim to be British or American but it becomes clear they are Australian the more they type.

                I am going to have to call this and say sorry Darren I don’t believe you are British by the way you are talking , why do you Aussies do this?

                • Darren January 9, 2014, 2:51 pm | Link

                  John,

                  Don’t play up to my badly-worded rant and certainly don’t become some sort of paranoid kiwi stereotype.

                  I’m British and a veteran of both New Zealand and Australia’s immigration systems. I hold duel UK and NZ citizenship with Australia PR (so yes, if I’m spiteful about it, I actually bothered to fill the forms and pay the money for a proper Australian visa rather than just use my NZ passport).

                  I lived in NZ (both Auckland and Wellington) for six years. I’ve seen the best and the worst of NZ.

                  So when it comes to SCV I’m seemingly in a fairly unique situation: a Kiwi passport holder that didn’t have an ingrained sense of entitlement to just cross the Tasman as a Kiwi. In getting a proper Australian PR visa I’m a bit of a poster boy for Aussie immigration, the Kiwi that didn’t gamble with his family’s security to take bite of the apple in The Lucky County.

                  That’s a terrible attitude towards Australians by the way, John. 🙂

                  • John January 9, 2014, 3:08 pm | Link

                    Yea sorry don’t believe a word of this, you are definitely Australian, I will let your vicious unprovoked rant speak for itself, its not from a British person.

                    • Darren January 9, 2014, 3:42 pm | Link

                      Dear Diary,

                      Today I was accused of being an Australian*. I’ve certainly been accused of worst things in the past.

                      If only endorsements from the likes of John were instrumental in actually attaining Australian Citizenship.

                      It’s like something out of Flight of the Concords.

                      Chill out John and, for heavens sake, put another shrimp on the barbie.

                    • John January 9, 2014, 3:58 pm | Link

                      Darren

                      You know you would get little support coming into this blog as a Australian and UTTERLY trashing NZ.

                      Faking being British, might make people think!, however you were way over the top and have been caught out.

                      Live with it :).

              • Darren January 9, 2014, 2:30 pm | Link

                Sorry Pete. Whilst I like Kiwis in general, you are right that I’m not a great fan of NZ. Perhaps I should better edit my posts.

                The more that I read about the SCV the more I see this pattern of some sort sense of entitlement amongst Kiwis that they deserve special treatment by Australians, over the citizens of every other country out there, above and beyond the special treatment that they are getting already.

                And I don’t really see why that should be.

                I DO, however, understand why Kiwis would (in my opinion, wrongly) think that they should have some sort of special entitlement when it comes to Australia, having lived in NZ for many years.

                It was this attitude that I was trying to impart, based on my own experiences, but unfortunately it has come across as a bit of a rant. Sorry about that.

                Reading between the lines I think that most Kiwis would probably prefer the option of the SCV rather than go through the points system.

                Again, the more I read about this (and look at what is going on with the UK and EU immigration). Apart from removing the SCV altogether (which will upset more Kiwis than it pleases), until as many Australians moving to NZ as Kiwis moving to Oz (which is unlikely) I don’t think that the is any reason for Australia to allow the average Kiwi automatic PR/access to benefits.

                Also, I’ve just found out that after living in Australia for ten years the kids of Kiwi parents can become Australian citizens, which means that they WILL get all the education benefits of their peers. Someone has obviously though about this.

                • John January 9, 2014, 2:46 pm | Link

                  Darren

                  Your posts are from a extremist Australian point of view and we both know it.

                  I refuse to go down to your level and tear apart everything about Australia that is wrong without any balance, logic and common sense, its a cowardly thing to do.

                  All you are doing is demonstrating how far Australia has to come with tolerance of people from other countries, I think your posts are shameful.

                  • Darren January 9, 2014, 3:21 pm | Link

                    I’m actually an outsider looking in that has a lot of experience with the New Zealand psyche.

                    There’s nothing extremist about questioning a (perhaps misguided) sense of entitlement. I agree that the SCV is a questionable situation that leaves many kiwis without the help that they need. I don’t think it is right, but I think that it is better than nothing.

                    I just don’t agree with uncontrolled immigration. It’s not fair on anyone. Just as the SCV isn’t fair to Kiwis.

                    • John January 9, 2014, 3:51 pm | Link

                      Unfortunately the cat is out of the bag. Your rant above shows clearly you are Australian not British.

                      NZ and Australia negotiated CER/FTA with a effectively single zone labour market.The UK never negotiated any of that, its NZ/Aus unique. In 2001 there were largely under the radar changes which consequences took a decade to fully realise (be them Kiwis or Aussie). The NZ government utterly screwed this up also.

                      There are two possible basic solutions

                      1. Fix the SCV
                      2. End the bilateral agreement.

                      Its 2014 Australia cannot have permanent residents with less rights than others, its supposed to be a developed nation there is no getting past this.

                  • Darren January 9, 2014, 4:15 pm | Link

                    John,

                    You cheeky monkey. You cancelled the reply to your posts, below. I was just about to prove my Britishness with some Cockney Rhyming slang, talk of Marmite, Shreddies and cheese Quavers. Then there’s the Dunkirk spirit, the white cliffs of Dover, Vera Lyn, Lancaster Bombers, Barnes-Wallis, Dan Dare, 2000AD, Beano, Viz and Whizzer & Chips.

                    I thank you. Rule Britannia.

                    I agree with you, though. Fix the SCV or abolish it. I fear, though that under any pressure to change it, the SCV would get abolished. I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t the outcome that the NZ Government favoured (behind closed doors, of course) as well.

                    Putting the knife in and twisting one last time…but…and here goes…Kiwis are not permanent residents in Australia, they are temporary residents.

                    We are not going by the Oxford English Dictionary term for “permanent resident” we are going by the immigration definition. The SCV is temporary as it cancels every time a Kiwi leaves Oz.

                    • BobinOz January 9, 2014, 4:20 pm | Link

                      Great to see you boys are all getting on just fine 🙂

                      Seriously, this debate is getting a little off topic, it’s not about what New Zealanders think about Australians or vice versa, it’s simply about the SCV.

                      Darren, no need to prove your you British credentials, anyone who would have thought of clicking on your link in your name to visit your website and to look at your about me page can see that you are from the UK.

                      Darren is from the UK, unless he went to the elaborate trouble of building his website and lying on it before making his first post here. So let’s please drop that one.

                      And gentlemen, can we please get back on track or call it a day between you all, you clearly all have different viewpoints and no one’s going to change anyone’s minds, so why not just agree to disagree?

                      By the way, nobody cancelled the reply below button Darren, my system is set to automatically prevent replies when people’s conversations go on too long 🙂

            • Luke July 6, 2016, 11:20 am | Link

              OK, that’s a bit rough saying Kiwis have massive chips on their shoulders but many can be rather nasty towards Aussies. They’re joking I think, most don’t even know any. It’s true NZers are guarded

              As a Kiwi in Aust. I’ve found I can’t really relate to Aussies. There’s a commonality I just don’t have with most of them. I can’t get a word in half the time! I tend to get on “normally” with English people and expats from other countries. Suspect it’s something to do with the origins of Australia. I’m not staying by the way, have decided to move on to Europe. I can get nationality through relatives OS, something I’m not eligible for in Australia.

  • Darren January 7, 2014, 10:06 am | Link

    Does the a version of the the Skilled Independent Migrant Visa still exist? The one that doesn’t require employer sponsorship?

    I know you can’t get this particular visa anymore, but I have a Skilled (Migrant) (class VE) Subclass 175 (Skilled – Independent) visa. I got it whilst I was in NZ with points only, no Australian experience. Saying that, my profession was/is probably on the SOL list.

    The more I think about it don’t really agree that Kiwis should get a special deal when it comes to OZ PR over anyone else. The pre-2001 form of the Trans-Tasman agreement was probably the only way to go. My understanding is that NZ didn’t pay the bill for all the kiwi dole tourists that crossed the Tasman.

    Bob, be careful. Whilst the current situation is not at all fair, Australia needs to control the type of roles filled by migrants. And, regardless of geographic location, Kiwis are migrants in OZ. Kiwis (forgive me Pete), sometimes forget that Australia is a totally different country. Why should a beautician from Porirua have any more right to Australian PR than one from Portsmouth or Paris?

    I spent six years listening to NZ politicians and their BS rhetoric on how they were going to close the gap between NZ and Oz. Never happened and never will. I watched as Kiwis became ever more bitter and envious (and spiteful) towards their nieghbour. I suggested that NZ should consider joining the Australian Commonwealth, something that would bring NZ into greater parity with it’s bigger brother. My Kiwi colleagues were insulted by the idea, preferring to shake their fists at Oz, vacation in Oz, have all their relatives move to Oz and live with the dream that one day NZ will be as fortunate as OZ.

    The only fair way to sort the situation out would involve some pretty brutal tough love: ending the Special Category Visa. Doing so would also serve to highlight the plight of folks like Pete and the NZ Policeman who have the abilities but not the rights.

    • Pete January 7, 2014, 11:33 am | Link

      Hi Darren. I respect Australia’s right as a sovereign country to limit the types of immigrants they want. But I stand by my observation that the current legislation / regulations produce perverse outcomes.

      If I didn’t have the right already to work in Australia, my current employer would probably have sponsored me for residency, and would have been able to because my skill is on the CSOL. Because I already have the right to work in Australia, we didn’t need to go through that process. But I can’t get residency without getting an employer to sponsor me, not even if I stay here for 30 years, have a hugely successful career etc. Its not so much my plight, but NZers do have unique situations with regard to working and living in Australia, so regardless of how strict or relaxed, there should be processes designed for us. (There are enough of us to warrant it too).

      As for “why the special treatment for NZers”. Philosophically, yes, I agree with you, but this is a problem I have with immigration laws the world over. The fact is that there is a long standing relationship which has given resident-like treatment to NZers. This is due to a huge number of common factors, etc, not least the fact that NZ essentially used to be part of NSW. And while NZ could probably join the Commonweath (it was anticipated in the constitution), there are sensible mechanisms for giving better effect to that long-standing relationship than the ones already in place.

    • Ddon June 19, 2015, 11:41 am | Link

      Interesting conversations between all of you.

      To avoid such arguments.. in my opinion. Dual citizenship shouldn’t be there. Also both Australia and New Zealand should become Republic States.

  • Pete January 5, 2014, 11:27 pm | Link

    I’m a NZer who moved to Australia recently, and I was fully aware of the current restrictions. But I think my situation is illustrative.

    I’ve got a Masters degree, and moved here for a skilled but relatively niche job. I’m in my late 20s, and I’m paid well above the Australian average. My occupation isn’t on the SOL, so I would need to convince my current (or a future) employer to sponsor me (it is on the CSOL), despite already having the ability to work here. Without employer sponsorship, I would theoretically have:

    *30 points (age)
    *15 points (Masters degree)
    *5 points (3 years work experience in NZ)
    *5 points (partner meets basic requirements)
    *5 points (Australian work experience [soon])
    *20 points (Superior English [would need to sit the IELTS for that, though]

    **80 points**

    So, like many other NZers, I comfortably exceed the points threshold, and yet to gain residency I would need to impose costs and bureaucracy on my employer that they may not be willing to accept. I appreciate the broader career opportunities here, but without a clear path to residency I will probably leave after a few years as I don’t want to make my long-term home somewhere I cannot vote.

    • BobinOz January 6, 2014, 8:33 pm | Link

      Point taken Pete.

      In this particular case, you couldn’t even pay the costs yourself because you can’t directly apply for PR. So yes, you do need to put your employer through some hoops that he may not even be able to jump through.

      In this situation I would have thought the very least the Australian government should be able to offer you is for you to pay them the visa fee yourself and get immediate PR without your employer having to sponsor you. You have the points, you already have the job and you are a NZer, it should be a rubberstamped job.

      It would then be up to you to decide whether you wanted to invest in a PR visa here for yourself, but it sounds like you do not even have that option. That doesn’t seem right to me.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Pete January 6, 2014, 10:11 pm | Link

        Thanks Bob,

        Yeah, I think allowing NZers to apply for PR if they have the required points and their job is on the CSOL would be one step that would make sense.

        There are worse ones, though: I was reading about a case of a NZ Police officer who now works in Australia. He got specifically recruited by the state force that he serves (can’t remember which one). Police officer is not on any skilled list, as you have to be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, so it doesn’t make any sense to have it in a jobs list which is designed for immigration purposes. Furthermore, his employer can’t sponsor him. If he wanted to get PR, he would have to change jobs to something on the SOL or CSOL. Crazy!

  • Darren December 23, 2013, 2:22 pm | Link

    The class of British Citizen is what is written in your passport. I’m “British Citizen”. The British National Overseas (not sure if that’s the right way around) is for folks born in British territories rather than born in the UK or by British parents.

    The main problem with the SCV is that most Kiwis don’t realise what it means to them and, more importantly, their children.

    • BobinOz December 27, 2013, 11:58 pm | Link

      Yes, I understand that, but if you search for available visas using firstly United Kingdom and then change it to United Kingdom – Citizen under the immigration Dept’s visa finder service, you will get drastically different results. I think 59 visas compared with 31. So somehow or another they look at those two classifications differently, I’m guessing when I think it might be the difference between born and bred in the UK and moved to the UK from somewhere else and then acquired citizenship.

  • Darren December 20, 2013, 8:03 pm | Link

    I’m originally from the UK and lived in NZ for six years before coming to Oz. I’ve got dual UK and NZ citizenship, but I’ve also got Australia permanent residency for precisely the reasons you’ve written about, Bob.

    Kiwis don’t realise that they only get a “temporary” visa, it’s not a widely known fact. Many were really surprised when I told them, as they wondered why I went to the trouble (and the three-year wait) to independently get get Oz PR

    Thousands of kiwis put themselves and their families at risk by making the trip across the Tasman. The most worrying fact is that the SCV is making a kiwi social underclass, as NZ kids on SCVs can’t get access to the same level of education grants as their Ozzy peers, making them less likely to achieve a profession on the skills list. I know of one family who are heading back to NZ so their child can get a university education.

    My understanding is that as part of the original trans-tasman agreement NZ promised to foot the dole bill for jobless Kiwis in Oz. They did pay up and so the deal was revised.

    I don’t think that the SCV system is fair in so much that it sets Kiwis up for a fall. But at the same time I don’t believe that Kiwis should be allowed into Oz with full PR without lifting a finger, just by virtue of being Australia’s neighbours. It’s no way to control immigration and, it’s a darn site easier to get into NZ (and get the passport) than it is to get into Oz!

    • BobinOz December 23, 2013, 1:56 pm | Link

      I agree completely Darren. The more I hear about the SCV the less fair it sounds. But, you suggest, would it the ‘right’ to allow all New Zealanders easy access to Australia when it is easier to get into NZ in the first place. Would NZ become a stepping stone for an easier route into Australia?

      I noticed recently that the Australian government now seems to have three different ‘class’ of UK citizen. They have, under nationality, United Kingdom; United Kingdom – Citizen; United Kingdom – British National overseas.

      On that basis, I wonder if you would be classed as a ‘United Kingdom – British National overseas’ rather than a New Zealand citizen? And on that basis not qualify for an SCV? I honestly don’t know how these United Kingdom classes work, but I only noticed them change about two months ago.

      So maybe there can be some kind of rules before Kiwis can get full PR in Australia, being a New Zealander by birth could be one of those rules, maybe some age restrictions, some kind of skills/qualifications requirement, I’m just thinking aloud here, but something that is not quite as tricky as applying for regular PR.

      I’m sure most New Zealanders would rather there be some kind of qualifying criteria to get here, but in return for that to get full rights the same as everyone else when they do arrive.

  • John December 4, 2013, 12:31 pm | Link

    Nice blog but here is a little more.

    This certainly isn’t about unemployment benefits as widely beaten up in the Aus media. Kiwis have a higher rate of employment in Australia than Australians and was it was also the case prior to the over the top changes in 2001. Kiwis are highly educated and fit seamlessly into the Aus work force (much like the English etc), for the most place they are inconspicuous.

    The NZ government even contributes to Kiwis retiring in Aus, which is largely unknown in Aus so no idea how this “we support them” kind of attitude started.

    The problem? why not just apply for PR?……………………………..here is a example.

    –Simon and Jenny both 35 moved to Aus from NZ several years ago and decided it suits them better and are now well established. One son born in NZ and one is Aus.

    Simon is a Builder Jenny is in Office Admin, both hard working pay full taxes etc.

    Neither Office Admin or Builder are on the skills shortage list so they have no path to Citizenship unless they change their professions in which case they will need to pay full international study fees amongst a host of other obvious large issues.

    The NZ born son now 3 years old will grow up as a Australian but not be entitled to vote, will need to be in a profession on the skilled shortage list also if he ever wants citizenship. Begs the question if Aus doesn’t want him, why is he here?

    The special category visa on one hand allows Kiwis to live in Aus permanently however it has accidentally created a subclass with the 2001 changes.

    Now you may argue other nations have to apply thought the same rules for PR and that’s 100% correct, however NZ and Aus negotiated a free access agreement in good faith as both nations have intertwined economies. Australia’s rule changes in 2001 were not immediately obvious to most which includes Australians (for example who cares about the unemployment benefit), basically the penny dropped!. Australia is supposed to be a 1st world nation it cannot have full time residents with no voice in society and less rights. IMO end the reciprocal agreement or fix the SCV so all Kiwis have a path to citizenship as originally agreed.

    BTW there are prob only around 300,000 NZ born Kiwis in Aus, NZ is a little more easy to get into and is sometimes used as a back door into Aus, so perhaps that needs to be addressed in any fix.

    • BobinOz December 5, 2013, 2:18 pm | Link

      Hi John

      Thanks for the additional information, very useful.

      I certainly agree, when I was looking into this, it was widely accepted that Kiwis come here to work and do have a higher rate of employment than the national average. I also suspected that for a New Zealander to get permanent residency that they would probably have to qualify in the same way as everyone else, which means points, skills, jobs on lists, that sort of thing.

      I wasn’t 100% sure though, didn’t know if there might have been another ‘special’ arrangement, seems there isn’t. So thanks for clearing up that one for us.

      I can see how much of a mess this is, and how this so-called reciprocal arrangement doesn’t really seem to be a two way thing. So I do agree with you, this thing needs to be fixed. Hopefully it will one day, enough people seem to be campaigning about it.

      As you say, either end the reciprocal agreement or fix the SCV so all Kiwis have a path to citizenship as originally agreed.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Jewel December 1, 2013, 11:16 am | Link

    I thought Kiwis get permanent residentship due to special arrangement between our two countries! Thnx for the detailed information.

    • BobinOz December 1, 2013, 8:27 pm | Link

      Glad to have cleared it up Jewel, turns out it’s actually permanent residency on a temporary basis 🙂

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