New Zealand is considered one of Australia’s closest allies, with a common history, culture and geography.
Even our military forces (the ANZACS) have been working together since 1915.
It is however a very different story when it comes to whether we let our Kiwi neighbours migrate permanently to Australia.
- Australia has been shutting down bridges for kiwis to migrate here for decades. Since 1 September 1994, New Zealanders have been required to hold a valid visa to enter Australia. While many can be granted the Special Category Visa on arrival, not every New Zealander is able to get this visa. Prior to 2001, New Zealand citizens in Australia on SCVs could access social security and obtain Australian citizenship without first becoming permanent residents, and become Australian Citizens. This all changed after 26 February 2001, and those New Zealanders who were not in Australia at that time have to face additional challenges if they wish to stay in Australia for life.Australia also removed the ability for kiwis to seek Australian PR in 2001.
Since then, kiwis can only have a temporary visa right to work and live here.
They cannot access social security, cannot get PR, cannot vote, cannot seek grants (eg the 1st home owner’s grant) etc.
- Permanent residency can give more protection against deportation and cancellation
- This is the most important reason.
- Australia can (and has been) cancelling visas held by kiwis (even PR!) where the Minister decides to do so because of a criminal charge (proven or not) or historical conviction (even if it was decades ago with no repeat conduct).
- This flows from amendments made approx 3 years ago which gave the Minister significant powers.
- The Migration Place believes many of these powers are unconstitutional and are being used unlawfully, to the detriment of Australians.
- The main areas they have been targeting include drugs, children and domestic violence. That said, they are NOT restricted to these areas and motor vehicle traffic matters can also lead to deportation.
- You could be entirely innocent and win at trial and still have to leave Australia under deportation once you have been charged (although you may be eligible for a criminal justice visa)
- You do not have to go to jail to be deported – suspended sentences also count, even though Judges often use suspended sentences to scare offenders into behaving. Zeke Bentley of The Migration Place believes that “….if the sentencing Judge knew a suspended sentence would result in deportation and splitting the family unit up, then clearly a different sentence would have been imposed to avoid that consequence.”
- This risk is not remote – the fact is that over 1000 kiwis had their visas (mostly PR) cancelled last year – many had children born and raised in Australia so those families were split up with almost no notice, and very little compassion.
- One example that we dealt with was a kiwi man whose only criminal charge was a minor drug charge (he bought NZ$50 worth of drugs in 1990 when he was 18, received a 12 month suspended sentence and moved to Australia 12 years later in 2002). Last year the DIBP cancelled his visa, even though he came to Australia in 2001, he had a family he has been successfully raising (he was the sole provider), and one of his two sons were even born here. One wonders what was achieved and this example serves as a potent reminder of the need to secure PR and citizenship ASAP.
- Another example was a 72 year old client who had his PR visa cancelled despite the fact that he had lived in Australia for over 50 years; he has children and grandchildren born here, he supports a family and his wife requires his ongoing care and assistance; his only offence dates back to 1992, he was not jailed, and he has been a glowing contributor to the community since. Ultimately we were able to stop him being deported, and we then got his visa reinstated and he was released back to his family. For more information see link http://www.themigrationplace.com/2016/06/17/kiwi-visas-cancelled-successfully-challenged/
- Government assistance is only available for residents – this includes things like Centrelink unemployment and pension benefits, embassy assistance overseas whilst travelling, voting rights. It also impacts university fees, medicare and eligibility for a range of other government services.
- Government Grants – grants like the first home owner’s grant, are only available to Australian residents.
- Visa sponsorships – while Kiwis holding a Special Category Visa can sponsor their partners for temporary visas, they cannot sponsor for a permanent visa. Furthermore, only an Australian resident can sponsor a foreign parent, and aged dependant family member or a last remaining relative. In addition, only an Australian resident can assist a brother or sister for the family sponsored stream of a Subclass 489 Visa.
- Career paths – many jobs require residency, and there is an increasing government expectation that employers only employ Australians. Australian companies also need to have a resident director.
- Australia’s migration rules get more difficult to meet every year – the Migration Place has been helping new Australians secure visas for almost two decades and the rules just get harder and harder every year. Most kiwis regret not coming here before 26 February 2001, as they could have become Australian Citizens.
- The rules change without notice – the last major change of changing the 457 work visa system was put into effect with NO notice and that was less than a month ago. The Minister just decided to do it, and the next day everyone (including the DIBP) were told to work with it.
- The visa application fees increase dramatically every year – an example is the Partner Visa application fee charged by the DIBP. In 2011, the cost of an onshore Partner Visa was just $2,575.00. It then slowly crept up the following year to $2,960.00. In 2013, the cost of an onshore Partner Visa jumped to $3,975.00. In 2014, it increased to $4,575.00. It then took another leap upwards to $6865.00 in 2015 and it has been announced to jump up to a flat $7,000.00 by 1 July 2017. All the while, the processing time is actually getting longer!
- Credit ratings for residents are easier to satisfy