.....and that looks likely to make emigration even more attractive
Travel has loomed large in Beehive press statements over the past 24 hours or so.
The PM has travelled to Australia, the Minister of Education is off to the US for a teaching conference, kiwis have returned to the Tongariro Forest, and the last live farm animals to travel by sea from this country have been shipped out of New Plymouth.
The PM’s press statement today is the most significant insofar as it tells us we all have been given a strong incentive to make our own travel plans and emigrate to Australia.
The report said:
In a move that restores reciprocity to rights of expats, about 380,000 New Zealanders living in Australia will no longer have to become permanent residents first.
This is news that Kiwis are being given the right to apply for Australian citizenship without first becoming permanent residents under sweeping changes restoring reciprocity to the rights of expats of the two countries.
The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, and immigration minister, Andrew Giles, today announced the changes ahead of the visit by our PM.
Hipkins has welcomed this news in a press statement posted alongside other announcements on the Government’s official website:
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed Australia’s historic decision to provide a new direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders living in Australia, saying it will bring the two countries closer together.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is travelling to Brisbane tomorrow to meet with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese ahead of Anzac Day.
Conservation Minister Wilow-Jean Prime has welcomed the historic return of nine Western brown kiwi to sanctuary in the Tongariro Forest, with another 60 birds set to join them in the coming weeks.
The Minister of Education will head to the United States tomorrow to meet with international counterparts and discuss global educational challenges.
New Zealand is deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict in Sudan and is calling for an end to bloodshed, the protection of civilians and non-combatants, and a resumption of dialogue in advance of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, says Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
Today the Government reaffirms its commitment to animal welfare and the protection of our reputation as world-leading food producers, with the departure overnight from New Plymouth of the last live export by sea, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
The Government’s commitment to young people is highlighted by a wide range of successful providers in the latest round of Ministry of Youth Development open tender funding, announced by Minister for Youth Willow-Jean Prime today.
In his statement, Chris Hipkins said Australian Prime Minister Albanese made the announcement this morning, in the 50th anniversary year of the trans-Tasman travel arrangement, which allows each country’s people to live and work in the other country.
He couldn’t resist the opportunity for party politicking:
“This is the biggest improvement in the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia in a generation and restores most of the rights Kiwis had in Australia before they were revoked in 2001,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Successive New Zealand Prime Ministers have advocated for this change for two decades. It’s pleasing that the close relationship between leaders of two like-minded governments was instrumental in reaching this outcome.”
Hipkins further said his visit was deliberately timed to be on the closest weekend to Anzac Day to reinforce our two countries’ unique Anzac bonds.
“I will be officially celebrating the new policy alongside Prime Minister Albanese at a citizenship ceremony in Brisbane tomorrow, followed by a community barbeque.”
The pathway to citizenship:
- Rights come into effect on 1 July, 2023.
- Applies to Kiwis on temporary, special category, visas who have lived in Australia for four years, and meet the standard Australian citizenship criteria (e.g. pass a character check, adequate knowledge of Australia, a basic English competency, will continue to reside in or have a connection with Australia) and attend a citizenship ceremony.
- Is retrospective. Those in Australia since 2001 will be able to apply directly for citizenship without gaining permanent residence first.
- Is affordable (the fee is A$490).
- Has no minimum income requirement or health requirement.
- Gives Kiwis access to services and benefits, once they become citizens.
- Allows Kiwi children born in Australia to become citizens at birth (rather than waiting till they turn 10, as they do now).
The new rules apply to New Zealand citizens, including New Zealand citizens from the states and territories within the Realm of New Zealand (the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau).
Australia had been attractive to New Zealanders under the old rules, of course.
Point of Order notes that there was a provisional net migration loss of 10,200 people to Australia in the year ended September 2022 [the latest stats available]
This was made up of 17,900 migrant arrivals from Australia to New Zealand, and 28,100 migrant departures from New Zealand to Australia.
Traditionally, there has been a net migration loss from New Zealand to Australia. This averaged nearly 30,000 a year during 2004–2013, and about 3,000 a year during 2014–2019.
We further note a report earlier this month which said nearly 5000 New Zealand nurses have registered to work in Australia since August.
They often go there to take up lucrative short-term contracts of up to NZ$8500 a week.
Meanwhile there is a huge nursing shortage here, a major contributor to delays in emergency departments, surgery and many other services.
The prospect of better health services might be another good reason for considering emigrating to Australia.
Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton