New Zealand Citizens – 1 July 2017 – Skilled Independent 189 (Points-tested) Stream – Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream

Last Updated on Friday, 9 June 2017 01:35 Written by Australian Immigration Visas Friday, 9 June 2017 01:35

An additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand citizens
On 19 February 2016, in acknowledgement of the special bilateral relationship between Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Government announced a streamlined pathway to Australian permanent residence, for many New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for at least five years and shown a commitment and continuous contribution to Australia.
The new visa pathway will be available as a new stream within the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa from 1 July 2017. The pathway is for New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) holders who were usually resident in Australia on or before 19 February 2016 and who, at the time of lodging an application, have resided in Australia for at least five years. These new arrangements will give many New Zealand citizens permanent residence status, if they meet certain criteria, including:
contributing to Australia, demonstrated through income tax returns which show taxable income at least equivalent to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for the qualifying period; and
meeting mandatory health, character and security checks.
New Zealand citizens who are granted this visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after a period of 12 months (in addition to the five years as an eligible New Zealand SCV holder).

From 1 July 2017, The Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa will have two streams:
Skilled Independent 189 (Points-tested) Stream
Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream.
The existing Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa remains open to all nationalities, however, from 1 July 2017 it will be renamed the Skilled Independent 189 (Points-tested) Stream. The application process is still by invitation through SkillSelect.

To be eligible for the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream, at the time of application you must:
hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of five years immediately prior to application, and have commenced that period of usual residence on or before 19 February 2016
have a taxable income at or above an income threshold for each income year in the five years prior to lodging an application (unless claiming an exemption).
meet mandatory health, character and national security checks
lodge a visa application and pay the relevant visa application charges.
You can include the following people in your visa application:
your partner
your child/step-child or your partner’s child/step-child.
These members of the family unit must:
meet mandatory health, character  and national security checks.
family members can hold any visa.

Like all nationalities New Zealand citizens seeking an option to apply for a permanent visa can explore the range of visa options available under the Family and Skill stream of the Australia’s annual Migration Programme.
New Zealand SCV holders who arrived in Australia before 1994 might also be eligible for a Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157).
Note: If you arrived in Australia prior to 26 February 2001, you may already be considered a permanent resident for the purpose of applying for Australian citizenship.

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