New Pathways to Citizenship: A Look at Australia’s Changes for New Zealand Citizens on Subclass 444 SCVs

May 2, 2024

New pathways to Australian citizenship for NZ SCV holders

Australia’s allure as a land of diverse landscapes, opportunities, and vibrant communities has unquestionably attracted migrants from all corners of the globe. Among these are New Zealand citizens who have made Australia their home, contributing significantly to the country’s cultural and economic fabric. On July 1, 2023, Australia introduced a transformative policy change that opened up new pathways to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens holding Subclass 444 Special Category Visas (SCVs). Australia has introduced new pathways to Australian citizenship for NZ SCV holders. This change has marked a significant milestone. These individuals have a chance to deepen their ties with Australia and further integrate into its society.

The Subclass 444 SCV and its Evolution

The Subclass 444 SCV was introduced as part of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA) between Australia and New Zealand. Under this arrangement, New Zealand citizens gained the right to live and work in Australia indefinitely. However, this visa did not grant a direct pathway to Australian citizenship. It left many New Zealanders in a sort of citizenship limbo.

The Shift in Policy – July 1, 2023

The policy shift took effect on July 1, 2023. It was subsequently met with enthusiasm and relief by the New Zealand community in Australia. This change removed a significant hurdle that had long stood in the way of many New Zealand citizens seeking to become full-fledged Australians. Under the new rules, New Zealand citizens holding Subclass 444 SCVs are now considered as Permanent Residents for the purpose of applying for Australian citizenship. This gives them a more comprehensive sense of belonging and security.

Key Changes and Benefits

  1. 1
    Residency Requirement Eased: One of the most notable changes is the relaxation of the residency requirement. Previously, the temporary Subclass 444 SCV did not allow its holders to apply for Citizenship unless they applied for a Permanent Residency visa. Under the new policy, SCV holders are considered Permanent Residents for the purposes of applying for Citizenship. They can now count time spent on a SCV towards meeting the twelve month Permanent Residency aspect of the four year residency requirement.
  2. 2
    Sponsoring Family: New Zealand SCV holders who are granted Australian Citizenship are able to sponsor family members for Permanent Residency.
  3. 3
    New Zealand children born in Australia after July 1, 2022: Because policy has been backdated, children born in Australia to NZ SCV holders from July 1, 2022 may have acquired Citizenship at birth.

Impact of new pathways to Australian citizenship

The changes implemented on July 1, 2023, have unquestionably had a profound impact on New Zealand citizens residing in Australia. For many, it represents a culmination of years of commitment to their adopted country. The opportunity to become Australian citizens not only grants them the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship. It also offers a deeper sense of identity and connection.

Strengthening Communities and Ties

Beyond the individual impact, these changes have the potential to strengthen the bonds between Australia and New Zealand. By providing a clear pathway to citizenship, Australia is sending a message of inclusivity and appreciation for the contributions that New Zealand citizens have made to its society.

Empowering the Future: Pathways to Australian Citizenship for NZ Citizen Children in Australia

For New Zealand citizen children who have spent the formative years of their lives in the diverse and welcoming communities of Australia, new pathways to Australian citizenship for New Zealand SCV holders are a welcome opportunity.

Key Policy Developments

  • Children of New Zealand Citizens who were born in Australia and have lived here for the first ten years of their lives may already be Australian Citizens by operation of law.
  • Children born on or after 1 July 2022 may have acquired Citizenship at birth.
  • Any other New Zealand Citizen born in Australia should check the law that was relevant on their date of birth. This will identify whether they are eligible to apply for Citizenship through the unique Citizenship rules that have applied for New Zealand Citizens at different times.

Recent significant policy developments recognise the unique circumstances of children of New Zealand citizens born in Australia. Changes offer them a chance to fully integrate into Australian society and embrace all the privileges and responsibilities that come with being a citizen.


The new pathways to Australian citizenship for NZ SCV holders implemented on July 1, 2023, have ushered in a new era for New Zealand citizens living in Australia on Subclass 444 SCVs. These changes have simplified the process of obtaining Australian citizenship. They have also recognized the integral role that these individuals play in Australian society. As these New Zealanders take advantage of this opportunity, they are not only realizing their personal aspirations but are also contributing to the diversity and richness of Australia’s cultural mosaic.

Embarking on the journey to Australian citizenship is an exciting opportunity that brings a world of possibilities. If you’re a New Zealand citizen on a Subclass 444 SCV and want expert assistance in navigating the application process, look no further. MyAusPath Migration Agents are here to guide you every step of the way. They ensure a smooth and successful journey towards becoming an Australian citizen.

Make Your Citizenship Dreams a Reality!

Don’t let uncertainty or confusion hold you back from achieving your goal of becoming an Australian citizenOur Migration Agents are here to make your journey as seamless as possible. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Take the first step towards embracing your new future as an Australian citizen.

Contact us and Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can New Zealand citizens become Australian citizens?

Yes, New Zealand citizens can become Australian citizens. They must meet specific residency, health, and character requirements to apply for citizenship through the Department of Home Affairs.

What are the residency requirements for New Zealand citizens to become Australian citizens?

New Zealand citizens need to meet residency requirements which typically include living in Australia on a Special Category Visa (SCV) for at least four years immediately before applying for Australian Citizenship. Learn more about Citizenship requirements.

What is a Special Category Visa (SCV)?

The Special Category Visa (SCV) is a temporary visa granted to New Zealand citizens upon arrival in Australia. It allows New Zealand citizens to live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely, but it does not provide the same rights and benefits as permanent residency or citizenship.

How can New Zealand citizens become permanent residents in Australia?

New Zealand citizens can apply for permanent residency through the New Zealand Stream of the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189). They need to have been living in Australia for at least five years on an SCV, meet income thresholds, and satisfy health and character requirements.

Do New Zealand citizens need to pass a citizenship test to become Australian citizens?

Yes, New Zealand citizens, like other applicants, must pass the Australian citizenship test. The test assesses their knowledge of Australia’s history, values, institutions, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Applicants must also demonstrate basic English language skills. Learn more about the Citizenship Test.

What documents are required for New Zealand citizens to apply for Australian citizenship?

Required documents typically include proof of identity (passport and birth certificate), evidence of residency (SCV or permanent residency visa), police certificates, and documents supporting any name changes or other personal details. Additional documents may be required depending on individual circumstances.

What are the character requirements for New Zealand citizens applying for Australian citizenship?**

New Zealand citizens must meet character requirements. This includes providing police certificates from every country they have lived in for 12 months or more over the past 10 years. The Department of Home Affairs will assess their character based on these certificates.

Can New Zealand citizens include their family members in their Australian citizenship application?

Each family member must meet citizenship eligibility requirements to apply for citizenship. Children under the age of 16 can be included in their parents application. Children born in Australia may be eligible for Citizenship by operation of law.

How long does it take for New Zealand citizens to become Australian citizens?

The processing time for Australian citizenship applications can vary, but it generally takes between 3 to 12 months from the time of application to the citizenship ceremony. This includes the time taken to process the application, conduct the citizenship test, and complete the ceremony.

What are the benefits of becoming an Australian citizen for New Zealand citizens?

As Australian citizens, New Zealanders gain full rights and privileges, including the ability to vote, access to certain government benefits and services, and eligibility for Australian passports. They also enjoy increased job opportunities and can participate fully in Australian civic life, ensuring security and stability for themselves and their families.

Joanna Hill

Registered Migration Agent

Joanna Hill is a Registered Migration Agent with over 8 years experience assisting individuals, business owners and HR managers to apply for all Australian Visas. Joanna’s areas of expertise include Work Visas, Partner Visas, Visitor Visas and Australian Citizenship. She makes the complex and constantly changing process of applying for Australian visas simple and stress free for client sand achieves a 100% success rate for partner visa applications. Joanna is a Member of the Migration Institute of Australia and is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARN 1575613). In addition to her work in Migration, Joanna has over 15 years experience as a teacher, Leading Teacher and Learning Specialist in Primary and Secondary schools. She has a research Masters in Education and has presented research and workshops at conferences in Australia and internationally

Latest News

Let us help you secure your future in Australia

Our Registered Migration Agents specialise in making Partner Visa applications tailored, simple and stress free. We are here to guide you through every step, helping you secure your future in Australia.

Connect with us!