Prime Minister Tony Abbott has bluntly rejected calls to give around 200,000 New Zealanders living in Australia greater access to citizenship, taxpayer benefits and other government support. Since 2001, New Zealanders moving to Australia have not been automatically considered permanent residents and must instead apply for a temporary visa, such as the Special Category Visa (SCV). Holders of temporary visas, such as the SCV, do not have access to welfare, voting rights and student loans, while permanent residents do.
New Zealanders say, while they can still apply for permanent residency as skilled migrants, the cost and difficulty of meeting the criteria means it is not an option most can pursue. Permanent visas ‘harder’ for New Zealanders despite ease of access
Timothy Gassin, a spokesman for the group Oz Kiwi which represents the estimated 200,000 affected New Zealanders in Australia, says despite the ease of access New Zealanders enjoy to Australia, they typically encounter more difficulties than other nationalities in obtaining permanent visas.
“Australia and New Zealand have been able to move freely across the Tasman since the beginning of European settlement,” he said.