Skilled Independent Visa – New Zealand stream has been temporarily closed to new applications which means an application for this visa cannot be made from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023.
This is a temporary pause on new applications while the Government considers future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens in Australia.
During this period, the Department of Home Affairs will seek to finalise the majority of on-hand applications in the New Zealand stream, and has established a dedicated taskforce to prioritise the processing of this caseload. The majority of New Zealand stream applicants have been waiting several years for their visa application to be finalised due to the limited number of places allocated to this group in recent years.
The following streamlining measures introduced acknowledge that this this group of New Zealand citizens are long-term residents of Australia, have been working here and contributing to Australia’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the streamlining arrangements is to support faster visa processing of on-hand New Zealand stream applications for New Zealand citizens (and their family members) who have been living in Australia generally for a significant period of time and continued to work in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures include removing the requirement for New Zealand stream on-hand applicants to satisfy criteria relating to:
- period of residence in Australia which required the applicant to be resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately prior to the date of application, and that residence began prior to 19 February 2016; and
- the income threshold in relation to three income years within five years immediately before the date of application (including the income year that ended most recently before the date of application), or be exempt, for example due to care of a child who is to remain in Australia; and
- public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4007 relating to health
The only criteria to be met by primary applicants (and their family members) with on-hand applications are the existing common criteria for the Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa which relate to public interest criteria such as character, security, and certain other matters.
Also, as announced in the October 2022 Budget, the Government is proceeding with priority processing of these applications in order to finalise the majority by mid-2023.