Tens of thousands of New Zealanders living in Australia won’t be effected by changes to citizenship laws.
28 April 2017
James O’Doherty – Sky News, New Zealand
Tens of thousands of New Zealanders living in Australia will not be effected by changes to Australian citizenship laws announced by Malcolm Turnbull last week – following an apparent back-down from Australia in the face of pressure from their Trans-Tasman neighbours.
The changes, announced on April 19, will see all permanent residents forced to wait 4 years for citizenship.
That seemed to undermine a deal signed between Malcolm Turnbull and Former NZ Prime Minister John Key last February, which would have seen tens of thousands of New Zealand expats eligible for permanent residence – and citizenship – from its commencement in July.
New Zealanders who arrived in Australia between 2001 and 2016 would have been eligible if they’d been living in Australia and earning more than $54,000 a year for at least five years.
Those eligible were concerned the new changes would mean four more years of waiting.
However, after discussing the matter with Malcolm Turnbull, New Zealand’s Prime Minister said they needn’t worry.
‘Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed that the Pathway to Citizenship for eligible New Zealanders, announced in February 2016, has not been changed,’ a spokesperson said.
‘It remains in place and on track, and is separate from the citizenship changes which Australia announced last week.’
A spokesperson for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also confirmed eligible New Zealanders would not face any changes.
The commitment only came after days of pressure from New Zealanders for clarification.
Responding to the announcement on Monday, Bill English said it ‘appeared at very short notice with short implementation.’
‘On the face of it is disappointing.’
Bill English suggested he could seek an exemption for New Zealanders – but, on Monday, Peter Dutton’s office appeared to rule that out.
‘The citizenship changes announced last week come into effect immediately, and will apply to all applications for citizenship received from that date onwards,’ a spokesperson said.
[Sky News article no longer available].