What is an ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’?
The term ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’ (ENZC) has a specific meaning under migration law and must be fully understood before proceeding with any advice or visa/citizenship applications.
It does not encompass all New Zealand citizens. Only those who meet the legal definition.
In Regulation 1.03 of the Migration Regulations 1994 an ‘eligible New Zealand Citizen’ is a specific New Zealand citizen who meets the criteria of a ‘protected Special Category Visa (SCV), subclass TY444 holder’ within the meaning of Section 7 of the Social Security Act 1991.
Who is and who isn’t an ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’?
The TY444 visa is the visa granted to most New Zealand passport holders upon arrival into Australia.
An Eligible New Zealand Citizen is someone who meets any one or more of the set criteria:
- Present in Australia on 26 February 2001, held a TY444 visa on that date and are still a New Zealand citizen
- Not present in Australia on 26 February 2001 but was present in Australia for 365 days (or more) between 26 February 1999 and 25 February 2001 (inclusive)
- Commenced (or recommenced) residing in Australia between 26 February 2001 and 25 May 2001 (inclusive) AND either claimed a payment under the social security law between 26 February 2001 and 25 February 2004 OR the person was, at any time, determined under subsection 7(2E) of the Social Security Act, to be residing in Australia
What is the benefit of being an ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’?
An ENZC is able to apply directly for citizenship, access social security payments and they are also able to sponsor certain family members provided they meet prescribed criteria.
If a New Zealand citizen does not meet any of the above criteria, they are NOT an eligible New Zealand citizen.
People who are not ENZCs must always apply for a permanent visa before they will ever be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship and full social security entitlements. Note: Entitlements to various payments may be subject to a newly arrived residents waiting period which all permanent visa holders must meet.