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
So, 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.
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 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.
Update: May 2018
Please see the Latest Visa News Update: May 2018, point 5.