Information for New Zealanders living in Australia

Assistance for Special Category Visa-holders


New Zealand citizens residing in Australia as Special Category Visa-holders may be entitled to Centrelink payments. Contact Centrelink International Services for assistance.

From 1 July 2023 New Zealanders residing as non-protected Special Category Visa-holders are considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes only. If they have resided in Australia for at least the past four years they can apply for citizenship. Protected Special Category Visa-holders have always been eligibile for Australian citizenship.

Use VEVO to look up or obtain proof of your visa status. You can also request your travel records to verify you are a protected SCV.

Resident Return Visa-holders

New Zealanders who entered Australia Prior to 1 September 1994 are eligible for a Resident Return Visa (RRV). RRVs take far less time to process than Australian citizenship, however, applying for an RRV would only be beneficial if you:

Once granted an RRV you must reside in Australia for 12 months to be eligible for Australian citizenship.

Charity support

Australian charities that recieve govenrment funding can usually only assist Australian citizens. Even if they do assist permanent visa-holders, non-protected SCVs (NPSCVs) may not be eligible. NPSCVs are considered permanent residents from 1 July 2023 for citizenship purposes only.

Australian Red Cross emergency support

The Australian Red Cross can provide temporary visa holders with emergency relief to help with basic needs, like food, medicine, or accommodation. This support is for people who do not have access to Commonwealth income support (including Special Benefits and Job Seeker).

Assistance to return to New Zealand

There two programs available to assist with travel documents and airfares for non-Australian citizens who find themselves in difficulty, and volunteer to return to their home country.

Homeward - the Assisted Returns Program

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration. The AVR can provide additional assistance once you have returned to your home country.