Centrelink entitlements for permanent residents
Non-protected SCV New Zealanders are eligible to claim some payments from Centrelink. However, for most Centrelink payments you must be a permanent resident and serve a waiting period.
Migrants granted a permanent visa are required to reside in Australia for a stand down period, the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP), to be eligible for most Centrelink benefits. You may have to wait 1, 2 or 4 years to get some payments. There is also a 2 year qualifying residence period for some payments such as the Parenting Payment. This is not the same as the NARWP.
When serving the NARWP, New Zealand citizens can count any period of time spent in Australia:
- prior to 26 February 2001; or
- after being granted a permanent visa; or
- a combination of the two.
For example, if you were granted a Resident Return Visa in 2018, and had lived in Australia for 18 months in the 1990's, you would be eligible for Centrelink payments after six months. If you entered Australia on a diplomatic passport, your period(s) of residence do not count towards the NARWP.
The NARWP does not apply to Protected Special Category Visa-holders, even if they leave Australia and return again.
Find out more
Find out more information about prior periods of residence for returning residents, and saving provisions for New Zealand citizens who have already served all or part of the NARWP prior to 26 February 2001.
What to do if your application is declined
If your application for a benefit or payment is declined request:
- the application be sent for review
- a staff member certify a photocopy of your travel records, proving you have served the NARWP, and return the original to you.
A review can take several weeks. If the review results in the same outcome, consider lodging an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (ATT).
A successful review or appeal should see you paid arrears from the date the application for the benefit or payment was first lodged with Centrelink.
Keep records when contacting Centrelink
It is very important when dealing with Centrelink that you keep a record, including:
- details of the conversations
- the staff member's first name and staff number
- the date and time
- a reference number.
This will assist you if you choose to appeal a decision or lodge a complaint with Centrelink.
New Zealand citizens claiming payments in Australia
Your options for Australian citizenship
Claiming the Aged Pension or NZ Superannuation