New Zealanders are taking advantage of a new opportunity to become Australian citizens shortly after the Albanese government made changes to the migration system.
Now, New Zealanders can apply for Australian citizenship directly after living in Australia for four years, without having to become permanent residents first.
This change is welcomed by many as it means shorter waiting times, lower application fees, and quicker access to support payments like Youth Allowance. In the six weeks since these rules were implemented, more than 15,000 New Zealanders have started their citizenship application.
This accounts for about half of all applications for citizenship during this period, where the applicants are not relying on being the descendants of Australians.
The Immigration Minister, Andrew Giles, believes these changes recognize the valuable contributions that New Zealanders make to Australia. He looks forward to celebrating with some of the newest Australians at a citizenship ceremony soon.
The data shows that New Zealanders in Queensland have submitted roughly a third of the applications, followed by Victoria and New South Wales.
Currently, there are an estimated 700,000 New Zealanders living in Australia, but more than half of them do not have Australian citizenship.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, has described this change as the “biggest improvement in the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia in a generation.”
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