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Special Category Visa for New Zealand Citizen


New pathway to permanent residence for Special Category Visa (SCV) holders in Australia

Great news! There is a new regulation applies for New Zealander who holds Special Category visa (SCV) and arrived after 26 February 2001.

These SCV holders will be given an additional pathway to permanent residence from 1 July 2017.  They must have lived in Australia for the last five years and shown a commitment and contribution to Australia and arrived post 26 February 2001, but on or before, the date of the announcement, 19 February 2016.

Mandatory residence, contribution to the community and community protection criteria will be the main requirements of this visa pathway.  Below are the main criteria in details:

  • SCV holders must have been resident in Australia for the five years immediately prior to visa application
  • SCV holders must contributed to Australia, which can be demonstrated through income tax returns (Notice of Assessment) for the period of residence evidencing taxable income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) 
  • SCV holders must meet mandatory health, character, and security checks.

Special category for new zealand citizen

From the Australian data, there will be approximately 60,000 – 70,000 of the 140,000 post 2001 SCV holders who have been in Australia for at least five years are expected to be eligible to this extended pathway to permanent residence.

What is The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) is a salary threshold used by the 457 programme as an indicator that an occupation is skilled and to ensure that a visa holder has reasonable means of support whilst in Australia.  It is currently set at AUD53,900.

The source from the DIBP website stated that “setting the eligibility threshold at the TSMIT ensures we are providing a pathway to prospective citizens who can make a strong contribution to Australia’s future.

Enabling Special Category visa holders to supply evidence from tax returns provides a concession to requirements relative to citizens of other countries, as it does not duplicate existing government requirements and is not onerous, but provides clear evidence of contribution.”

There will be limited exemptions to the income test requirement considered for particularly vulnerable New Zealand citizens.  Before the visa could be granted, the applicant will still need to meet the mandatory residence criterion.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister for Social Services will determine the details of how applications for exemptions to the income test will be assessed.

Visa application charge (VAC)

**There will be concessions to the visa application charge (VAC) solely for New Zealand citizens to better reflect the freedom of movement and right of abode they enjoy under the TTTA by:

  • The visa application charge will be consistent with the General Skilled Migration Programme: AUD3,600 per primary applicant with an additional AUD1,800 for partners, AUD1,800 per dependent child over 18 and AUD900 per child under 18.
  • Applicants will only have to pay 20 percent of the VAC when they lodge their application, with the remainder to be paid before the visa is granted.

To find further information on SCV holders or the changes that will be implemented, please contact our office on (+61) 089477-5831 or email: [email protected]

**Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection official website.

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