Since 2001 most New Zealanders living in Australia haven’t been allowed to apply for citizenship. (Source: 1 NEWS)
02 August 2017
Kimberlee Downs – TVNZ Australia Correspondent
The initial uptake for a much heralded new visa pathway for New Zealanders in Australia has been slower than some expected.
Thousands of Kiwis living across the Tasman become eligible for permanent residency in Australia.
According to figures provided to 1 NEWS from Australia’s Immigration Department, fewer than 1,000 Kiwis have applied for permanent residency under the pathway in its first month.
The Australian Government had estimated 70,000 New Zealanders were eligible when it opened on 1 July 2017.
The early number of applicants has been described as “quite low” by the chairman of advocacy group Oz Kiwi, Tim Gassin.
But Mr Gassin says that could be due to a number of reasons, including people gathering information that they had not been made aware they needed.
He says people have been caught out by being asked for the dates of their overseas travel for the last 10 years, as well as the need to get criminal record checks in New Zealand.
The cost of the application (NZD $3,900) may also be having an effect.
In a statement to 1 NEWS, a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection said there has been “strong interest” in the pathway, “with over 700 applications already received and being actively processed by the Department”.
Under the new visa New Zealanders would become permanent residents, then become eligible for Australian citizenship in one year.