New Zealand Citizens – COVID Concessions

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Australia has a special pathway to permanent residency for our friends ‘across the ditch’ in New Zealand.  If a New Zealand citizen has been living in Australia since before 19th February 2016, and has worked for more than 4 years, and earned more than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (currently $53,900) in each of those years, they can apply for the Subclass 189 Visa (New Zealand stream).

This visa pathway is only available in years when the All Blacks don’t win the Bledisloe Cup.  Therefore it’s pretty much never open.  Ok so that last sentence was a porky pie. It’s open.  Back to the facts….

This visa pathway requires the applicant to show four tax returns, including the one for the tax year ending immediately before application (there are some exemptions – including periods where maternity leave was taken).

COVID has put the brakes on many otherwise eligible New Zealand citizens; who may have been working towards this goal.  A drop-off in employment, and in taxable income, has inevitably occurred for some people – meaning they can’t show the 4 years of required income.  Even though it may be temporary for most people, it’s still enough to dampen their visa eligibility for now.

A concession has been announced in the Federal Budget 2020-21. 

We know many of our clients were hoping that the Government would allow a concession on the TSMIT; and a concession on the most recent financial year.  But, the concession is simply that only three years of taxable income will be required.  There is no concession to the income amount, and the documentation provided  must still include the last financial year’s tax return.

There is no word yet from the Department of Home Affairs on when this change will be implemented.  We anticipate it will be within the next year, once the legislation has been drafted and approved.  Once these changes have been implemented, we will send you a further notification.

Want to discuss a New Zealand Citizen visa?  Contact us for advice about your options.  (Please don’t mention the Bledisloe Cup).

Leanne Stevens

CEO, Emergico // Registered Migration Agent (#1171279)