Update on commitment to process NZ 189 visa backlog

Update on clearing NZ 189 visa backlog
Processing visa backlog – the Australian government have committed to processing New Zealand Stream 189 visas currently on hand by mid-2023.

10 December 2022

Temporary closure of New Zealand stream 189 visa applications

The New Zealand stream 189 visa has temporarily closed to new applications from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023.

This is a temporary pause on new applications while the Government considers future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens in Australia, reflecting the close ties between the two countries. The Department of Home Affairs will seek to finalise the majority of on-hand applications, and has established a dedicated taskforce to prioritise the processing of this caseload.

Streamlined measures to clear application backlog

The following streamlining measures introduced acknowledge that this group of New Zealand citizens are long-term residents of Australia, have been working here and contributing to Australia’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include removing the requirement for New Zealand stream on-hand applicants to satisfy criteria relating to:

  • a period of residence in Australia;
  • the income threshold; and
  • health, given New Zealand citizens can already access Medicare.

If you have applied for the NZ stream 189 visa Home Affairs will contact you if they require additional information or supporting documents.

Back-dated PR for NZ 189 visa applicants

In recognition of the extraordinary processing times for the New Zealand Stream 189 visa applicants granted the visa after 31 December 2021 up to 1 July 2023 are eligible to apply for citizenship. from 1 January 2023.

Citizenship for children born in Australia

A child born in Australia between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2023, prior to the grant of their parent’s New Zealand stream 189 visa, can apply for proof of citizenship if the PR visa was granted within that time.

NZ 189 processing FAQs

The Department of Home Affairs website has more information and FAQs.

Review of New Zealanders rights in Australia

In July 2022 Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern committed to reviewing the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia, including the path to citizenship. Oz Kiwi has been consulted as part of the review, including meetings in Canberra.

The review is due to complete by ANZAC Day 2023. We will keep you informed of any outcomes from the review.

Visa processing backlog

In October 2022 Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced funding to clear the backlog of New Zealand Stream 189 Visa applications. Some applicants have been waiting more than 20 months.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil then told Oz Kiwi that all NZ 189 visa applications currently on hand would be processed by ANZAC Day 2023.

Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles has increased the number of staff processing visa and citizenship applications since the ALP took office in May 2023.

We thank Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, and Minister for Citizenship & Immigration Andrew Giles for their ongoing efforts to support New Zealanders living in Australia.

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