Table of Contents


Thank you for your comment! Once approved we will get back to you shortly.


How to Immigrate to Australia from New Zealand

June 29, 2022
Myer Lipschitz

Choosing to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand is a common path for many, given the close-knit relationship and shared cultural bonds these two nations enjoy. For New Zealand citizens, the process of moving to Australia can be somewhat more straightforward compared to individuals from other countries.

New Zealand citizens with valid New Zealand passports do not need to apply for a visa before coming to Australia. Upon arrival, those who meet the criteria for a Special Category visa (subclass 444) will be granted one.

As from 1 July 2023 New Zealand citizens wanting to qualify for Australian citizenship don’t have to first apply for permanent residence, they can apply for Australian citizenship after living in Australia for a period of four years.

Often however New Zealand citizens might have a spouse or partner who is not a New Zealand citizen and it might be advantageous to the spouse or partner if the New Zealander does apply for Australian permanent residence as a means to secure permanent residence for the spouse or partner.

While there are strong similarities between the two nations, it is crucial for anyone considering to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand to understand the various aspects of the process, such as obtaining a visa, securing employment, and adapting to the Australian way of life. It is essential to be well-prepared and informed to ensure a smooth transition into Australian life.

Can I Immigrate to Australia as a New Zealand Citizen? Understanding Your Options

New Zealand citizens have some unique options when looking to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand, making the process much easier than for other nationalities.

Special Category Visa (SCV): Eligibility and Conditions

The most common visa option for New Zealand citizens is the Special Category Visa (SCV), or Subclass 444. This is granted upon arrival in Australia, and it allows NZ citizens to live, work, and study as long as they want without prior application. However, the SCV is a temporary visa, meaning it does not provide permanent residency status.

While New Zealand citizens have the benefit of the SCV, they might also be interested in pursuing a permanent visa to access extra entitlements, such as social security benefits.

There are various pathways for New Zealand citizens to become Australian permanent residents, including the Skilled Independent Visa. This visa requires the applicant to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as qualifications and experience. Applicants generally need to submit an Expression of Interest and obtain an invitation before applying for these visas.

For New Zealand citizens who were born in Australia, citizenship is granted automatically at birth. Hence, there is no need to go through the procedure of acquiring permanent residency before citizenship.

Families of NZ citizens can also choose to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand. In such cases, the application process may involve additional requirements, such as visas for spouses, children, or dependent family members. Regional visas also exist, allowing for immigration to specific regions in Australia with lower population density.

Generally, numerous options are available for New Zealand citizens looking to immigrate to Australia, but understanding the eligibility, conditions, and application processes associated with each visa type is crucial for a successful immigration experience.

How to Immigrate to Australia from New Zealand Without a Job Offer

The Points-based System for Skilled Immigration

Australia offers a points-based system for skilled immigration, allowing individuals with specific skills and qualifications to apply for residency without a prior job offer. To be eligible, applicants must score at least 65 points on the immigration points test. Points are awarded for age, English language proficiency, work experience, education, and other relevant factors. Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Australian Immigration Department is the first step in this process, followed by receiving an invitation to apply and submitting the required documentation. The primary applicant needs to be younger than 45 years of age.

Business and Investment Visas

Entrepreneurs and investors interested in migrating to Australia without a job offer can explore the Business Innovation and Investment programme. These visas allow business owners and investors to establish or develop a business in Australia, provided they meet specific criteria for business track record, assets, and investment activities. Some options within this programme do not require State or Territory Nomination, offering more flexibility for applicants who are not yet committed to a particular location.

Pathways for Recent Graduates

Graduates from New Zealand educational institutions can explore several pathway options for migrating to Australia without a job offer. The Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) Visa allows recent graduates to live, study, and work in Australia for up to four years, depending on their qualifications. Eligible graduates must have completed a course of study with a duration of at least 92 weeks registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Specialised Skills

Individuals with unique and specialised skills might be eligible for the Distinguished Talent (subclass 858) Visa, which does not require a job offer. This visa targets individuals with an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in a profession, sport, the arts, or academia and research. Applicants must be nominated by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible organisation to qualify for this visa.

Spouses, partners or children of a New Zealand citizen who are not themselves New Zealand citizens could consider the New Zealand family relationship visa (subclass 476) which entitles the family member to a five year visa but this is not a permanent resident visa.

Navigating the Application Process Efficiently

If you are considering to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand, navigating the application process efficiently is essential to ensure a smooth transition.

Practical Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  1. Research visa options: Start by exploring the available visa options for New Zealand citizens. Some common options include the Special Category Visa (subclass 444) and Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189). It’s important to identify the most suitable visa type based on your individual circumstances.
  2. Consult an Australian immigration lawyer: Seek professional advice from an experienced Australian immigration lawyer who can guide you through the process. They can provide valuable insights on eligibility requirements and application procedures, helping you circumvent potential roadblocks and avoid costly mistakes.
  3. Prepare your documents: Gather all the necessary documents, such as passports, proof of skills and qualifications, and work experience, before starting the application process. Ensure that your documents are complete, correct, and up-to-date.
  4. Be informed about the application fees: Familiarise yourself with the application fees for your chosen visa type, as well as any additional costs that may be incurred during the application process, such as medical examinations or English language tests.
  5. Follow application guidelines closely: Adhere to the prescribed application guidelines and format. Be sure to provide accurate information and avoid omitting any required details. Failing to do so may lead to delays or even rejection of your application.
  6. Keep track of deadlines and processing times: Be aware of the deadlines for your application, and allow for adequate time for processing. Knowing the average processing times for your visa type will help you prepare and manage your expectations.
  7. Stay updated on immigration policy changes: Australian immigration policies may change from time to time. Regularly monitor updates from official sources, and adapt your approach accordingly.

By following these practical tips, you can efficiently navigate the application process and fulfil your dream to immigrate to Australia from New Zealand. This will help to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, allowing you to focus on settling into your new life in Australia.

Acclimating to the Australian Way of Life

To immigrate to Australia from New Zealand involves adapting to a different way of life. While both countries share similarities, it is essential to understand the nuances of Australian culture and society to make the transition smoother.

Firstly, Australians value a laid-back and easygoing lifestyle. They often appreciate a healthy work-life balance and enjoy spending time outdoors, participating in social activities, and engaging in sports. New Zealanders should be prepared to join in these activities and adapt to the Australian sense of humour, which may be more direct, sarcastic, and playful compared to New Zealand’s.

Secondly, Australians are known for their strong sense of mateship. This means forming close bonds with friends, neighbours, and colleagues and demonstrating loyalty and support to one another. For New Zealanders moving to Australia, it is essential to embrace this spirit of mateship and engage in community events and social gatherings to establish meaningful connections.

Language-wise, although both countries speak English, there are several differences in slang, terminology, and accent. New Zealanders might find some Australian phrases and expressions unfamiliar. It is a good idea to familiarise oneself with the unique Australian lexicon to better understand conversations and communicate effectively.

When it comes to work, Australia and New Zealand share many similarities in work culture, but there may still be differences in workplace norms and expectations. New Zealanders should be open to learning and adapting to these differences while working in Australia.

Lastly, adapting to the climate is crucial, as Australia has diverse and, in some areas, extreme weather conditions. Depending on the region, one might need to adjust to intense heat, tropical humidity, or arid conditions. Understanding the seasonal pattern in the chosen city and taking necessary precautions, such as staying hydrated and wearing the right clothing, is essential for a comfortable life in Australia.

Individuals from other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, or other regions such as South Africa also have pathways for possible immigration to Australia.

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

Attend a free seminar


Myer Lipschitz

Myer Lipschitz was born in Johannesburg and is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1985 he was conferred the degree Bachelor of Laws. Myer completed his Articles of Clerkship with Ivor Trackman, Attorneys and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1988. Myer immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 and was admitted to practice law in New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand...

Read More

Leave a Reply