The special category 444 visa is a temporary visa that allows New Zealand citizens to visit, study, stay and work in Australia as long as you remain a New Zealand Citizen. This is a reciprocal arrangement that was made by New Zealand and Australia under the Trans-Tasman Arrangement which was introduced in 1973. New Zealand is the only country in the world who has this arrangement with Australia and the only limitation on the number of New Zealand entrants to Australia relate to any health of character requirements.
Currently, there are more than 672,000 New Zealanders in Australia who hold a subclass 444 visa. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting every aspect of Australia’s economic, health and social sectors, subclass 444 visa holders were one of the temporary visa subclasses that took a major blow when it came to employment.
Financial benefits for New Zealand citizens
With the current lockdown of major businesses, especially in hospitality, temporary visa holders have either been stood down or laid off. This has left many temporary visa holders struggling financially. Luckily, the Government has announced that any New Zealander on a 444 visa who arrived before 26 February 2001 will have access to welfare payments and the Government’s newly created JobKeeper payment.
But do not fret, the Government has also announced that 444 visa holders who arrived after 2001 will also have access to the JobKeeper payments. In addition to this, New Zealanders
who have lived in Australia for 10 years or more will be eligible for the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, but only for up to six months. However, the Government has strongly advised that any New Zealander on a subclass 444 visa who is unable to support themselves financially, should consider returning to New Zealand.
New Zealanders coming home to Australia
With the travel restrictions on Australian borders, New Zealand citizens who normally reside in Australia (with a subclass 444 visa or other permanent or provisional visa) are now permitted to come to Australia. However, on arrival you must be able to present proof of residency in Australia (such as showing your drivers licence or any other documents that show your residency). This must be presented when you check-in at the Airport. Once you have been permitted entry, you will then be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (you may be directed to stay at a specific hotel) on your arrival. If you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent but you do not normally live in Australia, you are also permitted to transit through Australia in order to return home to New Zealand.
Over the past weeks, we have been closely monitoring the news and restrictions being put on visa holders in Australia during the coronavirus crisis. It can be difficult to keep up with the visa changes implemented by the Government but at Migration Centre of Australia our team constantly monitors legislative or policy changes that can affect you to enable us to give our clients up to date migration advice. From understanding where you stand to making an application, our registered migration agents are able to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today on 02 4626 1002 or send us an email at email@example.com and let us help you.