Migration Amendment (Subclass 189 (Skilled—Independent) Visa in the New Zealand Stream) Regulations 2023 dated 19 June 2023 amends the Migration Regulations 1994 to permanently close the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa in the New Zealand stream to new applications as they may now apply directly for citizenship.
The New Zealand stream of the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa provided a permanent residence option for New Zealand citizens who demonstrated commitment to Australia, including residence in Australia for at least five years.
On 10 December 2022, the permanent Subclass 189 New Zealand stream visa was temporarily closed to new applications from primary applicants from 10 December 2022 until 30 June 2023, while the Government considered options for New Zealand citizens.
On 22 April 2023, in recognition of the long standing, close and special bilateral relationship that exists between Australia and New Zealand, the Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, announced a direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens living in Australia. From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens holding a Subclass 444 Special Category visa who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship by conferral without the requirement to hold a permanent visa, making the New Zealand stream of the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa unnecessary.
Partners and dependent children of a New Zealand stream primary applicant will continue to be permitted to make an application for a Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa after 10 December 2022 provided the primary applicant’s application is undecided.
The amendments made by the Amendment Regulations also omit criteria relating to residence, income and health that do not apply to any on-hand applications as these criteria are now redundant.
The instrument is registered on the Federal Register of Legislation on 23 June 2023 and will commence on 1 July 2023.
To access the instrument, click here.