There are many New Zealanders living in Australia. Australian and New Zealand have had a very close relationship and it is one of the closest relationships compared to Australia’s relationships with other countries. Therefore, a commitment has been made for all kiwis residing in Australia that their journey to citizenship will be made easier, they’ll have attainable access to the health & welfare provisions that the government provides as well as voting rights, alleviating a long-standing trans-Tasman sore point.
The Prime Minister of Australia Mr. Anthony Albanese and The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday that there has been a reset in relations between Australia and New Zealand that could positively impact a range of up to Six-Hundred and Fifty Thousand Kiwis living in Australia. The set timeframe for the reset has been placed just before Anzac Day in 2023.
The matters relating to the kiwi’s voting rights and how the change will affect this is going to be looked over by the parliament electoral matters Committee and will be announced at a later date.
Although New Zealanders can indeed relocate to Australia to live or work without a visa, they enjoy a different set of rights depending on when they arrived in the country.
Kiwis who came to Australia after 2001 cannot become citizens – and therefore have the right to vote – unless they go through a pricy and long process to obtain a different type of permanent residency visa.
“We don’t want people to be temporary residents forever,” Mr Anthony Albanese said.
“We know that there have been a range of issues raised relating to citizenship. And we think those pathways and working through these issues so that people get more rights that are more consistent, whether it be Australians who have moved to New Zealand or New Zealanders moving to Australia.”
“We want to work through these issues with all the implications that are there for full participation in our respective societies.”
Essentially, New Zealanders living in Australia before February 26, 2001, can access an abundance of social security payments provided by the Australian Government and have the option of applying for citizenship right away without the tediousness of the visa process.
But those who arrived after this cut-off date have access to only a select few amounts of payments including limitation on the amount of time you can claim them – however the dole, the youth allowance, and the provided sickness allowance, can only access it once in their working life for a capped limit of six months. A New Zealander can only claim student loans for studying if they arrived in the country as a minor and have lived here for the required 10 years. But they are not allowed to join the Australian Defence Force or federal public service, or even vote.
One of the largest issues is that kiwis do not have access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, even though they pay the tax levy for it.
Nor do post-2001 arrivals have a pathway to citizenship, unless they switch to another kind of permanent residency visa pathway or are partnered to an Australian my, and even those options can cost thousands of dollars and take years to complete for citizenship.
New Zealanders were granted PR even if they were only onshore for a short holiday or for another short-term reason. This only applied to New Zealanders who arrived onshore before September 1, 1994. Then only after a short two years these ones could even apply for citizenship.
In contrast to the unfairness of rules applying to New Zealanders who live in Australia, Australian citizens living in New Zealand can vote after one year, claim welfare after two years and receive study assistance after three years. The contract is clearly seen when you compare those regulations side by side.
Joanne Cox, who operates the organisation Oz Kiwi, a group campaigning for change within these countries two-way relationship, stated that the “magic dates” approach taken by Australia had been unfair and encouraged “economic deprivation” leaving many young people unable to go on to study at university or attend any vocational training because of the rules. She stated that about 650,000 New Zealanders have lived in Australia at any one time and estimated 300,000 were in the post-2001 cohort. Leaving just under half without the support they may need to make living in Australia a bit easier.
Ms Cox welcomed Friday’s announcement. And has always been known to speak out on such matters in the past. https://www.facebook.com/OzKiwi2001/posts/why-the-2001-law-changes-were-wrong-and-how-its-gotten-worse-ever-since-a-good-r/464317063646363/
“The political appetite is there now to do something about this, and we are very encouraged by having a Labor/Labour leadership because the Coalition government didn’t have the will,” she said.
Mr Albanese also confirmed the controversial policy of deporting New Zealand citizens who had been convicted of serious crimes would be softened, so that people who otherwise had no links to New Zealand and had effectively lived their life in Australia would not be expelled.
“This is exactly what we have asked of Australia,” Ms Ardern said.
“What we have been seeking is common sense and the spirit of friendship. And that’s what Prime Minister Albanese has spoken to today.”
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