Eligible New Zealand Citizens

Please note: Information provided on our website and social media is intended as a guide and general educational resource only. The only way to know what is best for each individual case is to book an assessment. Erina is a highly experienced and knowledgeable registered migration agent who specialises solely in the migration matters of New Zealand citizens who live in Australia.

The title ‘Eligible New Zealand Citizen‘ is a definition and term used in Migration Law. Many if not most New Zealand citizens are unaware of its legal meaning.

An Eligible New Zealand Citizen is more commonly known as a Protected Special Category Visa holder and they also hold a Special Category Visa, subclass TY444.

Eligible New Zealand Citizens is the legal term used in Migration & Citizenship Legislation (immigration matters) whilst Protected Special Category Visa holders is the legal term used in Social Security Legislation (generally Centrelink/Service Australia entitlements)

These terms are the most important labels for all fellow Kiwis to understand first and foremost, because it helps us to identity a persons’ rightful status.

Once our rightful status has been identified it then becomes much easier to understand whether a person can apply directly for citizenship or not.

People who are not ENZC must always apply for a permanent visa before they will ever be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship and full Centrelink entitlements. Note: Entitlements to various Centrelink payments are subject to a Newly arrived residents waiting period

New Zealand citizens may need to be granted a permanent resident visa before Centrelink can look at the time you’ve spent in Australia. This will happen if you arrive on a NewZealand passport with a Special Category visa.

This information is current as of the 5 August, 2020.

ENZC has a very specific meaning which at times can seem contradictory and confusing to most.
Bear with me as I try to explain what I mean!

Eligible New Zealand Citizens are:

  • The holders of the Special Category Visa, subclass TY444, just like every other New Zealander
  • Technically still temporary visa holders
  • Able to sponsor certain family members
  • Also known as a Protected Special Category Visa holders
  • Eligible to apply directly for citizenship without the need to apply for a permanent visa first
  • Eligible to apply for all Centrelink payments

Eligible New Zealand Citizens are NOT:

  • Permanent residents (except for Citizenship and Taxation purposes)
  • The reason Eligible New Zealand Citizens are not permanent residents is because they hold a temporary visa (TY444)
  • So despite being treated similar to permanent residents they are not exactly the same as permanent residents because they do not hold a permanent visa

If Eligible New Zealand Citizens have children that are:

  • Born in Australia, their children are Australian citizens at birth
  • Born in New Zealand or elsewhere, their children are ordinary Special Category Visa holders who are ‘Non-protected’

To be assessed as an Eligible New Zealand citizen one must be able to say ‘Yes’ to at least one of the criteria below:

  • Present in Australia on the 26th February 2001 as a New Zealand citizen
  • Present in Australia for a total of 365 days between 26th February 1999 and 26th February 2001
  • Arrived in Australia from the 27th February 2001 to 25th May 2001 and applied for or contacted Centrelink before the 26th February 2004. Most Kiwis would have received a ‘Centrelink Letter’ to confirm if this was the case. If a Kiwi no longer has this letter they may call International Services in Hobart to request another copy of this letter on 131 673.
Finally, an Eligible New Zealand Citizen never loses their status, regardless of length of time spent outside of Australia. They also do not need to meet the 4 year residency requirement for citizenship provided they entered Australia within 8 years of making an application and did not leave Australia for more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately before applying.
If you are still grossly confused, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Below is a video I made to explain what it all means. Good luck!
Erina Morunga

MARN: 1797713