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Information for New Zealanders living in Australia - FAQs

Race Race Discrimination

There are a significant number of New Zealanders living in Australia. The number of New Zealand citizens in Australia at 30 June 2012 was estimated as being 647 863.

As a result of a number of general inquiries received regarding the entitlements and rights of New Zealanders living in Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission has developed these Frequently Asked Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What special arrangements are in place between the Governments of Australia and New Zealand?

Since 26 February 2001, the Governments of Australia and New Zealand put in place special arrangements for New Zealand citizens visiting or living in Australia. This means that most New Zealand citizens will not need a visa to travel to Australia, and are granted a visa once they arrive in Australia. The visa is called a Special Category visa. 

What is a Special Category visa?

The Special Category visa, subclass 444, is a temporary visa, introduced for New Zealand citizens.

A Special Category visa requires a number of criteria to be met, before it is issued. These criteria relate to citizenship, health, criminal history, and deportation or removal from a country. More information on the criteria can be found at the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website and New Zealand’s Australian High Commission website.

Holders of the Special Category visas are entitled to certain social security payments, flexible travel arrangements and other benefits relating to living, working and studying in Australia. For more information on this, see below.
 

Are the rights and benefits under the Special Cateogry visa the same as those for Australian permanent residents or citizens?

The rights and benefits for Special Category visa holders are not the same as those held by Australian permanent residents or citizens. Generally, Special Category visa holders do not having the same voting rights in Australian government elections, ability to obtain ongoing employment with the Australian Government, ability to join the Australian Defence Force or access student loans. More information on the rights and benefits can be found at the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website and New Zealand's Australian High Commission website.
 

What are my social security entitlements?

Social security entitlements vary, depending on what Australian visa you may hold.

Information for New Zealand citizens about their social security entitlements is available from the Australian Department of Human Service’s International Services Helpline: 131 673. Information can also be found from the Australian Department of Social Security website and the National Welfare Rights Network website.
 

Can I work in Australia?

You can confirm how much you can work on the Australian Government’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) website, which is a free online service, available 24 hours a day, about visa entitlements and status information.

 

Where can I go to get any other information about living in Australia?

The Australian High Commission website and the Australian Government website provide some useful information on living in Australia, including looking for employment, the recognition of professional or trade qualifications, salary, cost of living, health information, education and studying information, tax and superannuation information, retiring and travelling information.

You may also find it useful to visit the relevant state, territory and local government websites.
 

What are the requirements for New Zealand citizens interested in applying for Australian citizenship?

There are a number of requirements that must be met for a New Zealand citizen to be granted Australian citizenship. Requirements vary depending on which Australian visa, if any, you have been granted. Further information on applying for Australian citizenship, including requirements for children of New Zealand citizens that are born in Australia, can be found at the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
 

What are the requirements for New Zealand citizens interested in applying for Australian permanent residency?

There are a number of permanent residence visas available to New Zealand citizens who are both in and out of Australia. For more information, see the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
 

Can I bring my family members to Australia?

To sponsor family members to Australia, New Zealand citizens are required to satisfy Australian resident requirements. There are different requirements depending on Australian residency and the citizenship of family members. More information can be found at the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
 

Where can I find information about making discrimination-related complaints?

In Australia, it is against the law to be discriminated against in many areas of public life such as employment, education, the provision of goods, services and facilities, accommodation, sport and the administration of Commonwealth laws and services.

The Australian Human Rights Commission can investigate and resolve complaints involving discrimination, harassment and bullying based on a person’s sex, disability, race, age, and sexual preference, criminal record, trade union activity, political opinion, religion or social origin.

For free advice on discrimination and your rights, or to make a complaint, call the Commission’s Complaint Information Service on 02 9284 9888, 1300 656 419 (local call) or 1800 620 241 (TTY). Information about making or responding to a complaint is available at the Commission’s website. You can also email the Commission at complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au

If the links to government or organisation websites referred to above do not work, please visit the general website or contact the relevant organisation directly.

If you require an interpreter, you can request this when speaking to the government or organisation, or you can call the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450.
 

Useful links

Australian Department of Immigration and Border Security

Australian Department of Human Services

Australian Department of Social Security

Australian High Commission

Immigration Advice and Rights Centre Incorporated

National Welfare Rights Network