The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census confirms that fewer New Zealanders are crossing the ditch and becoming Australian citizens.

The fall in the number of New Zealanders acquiring Australian citizenship is largely due to the controversial change in law in 2001 which denies New Zealanders citizenship unless they can acquire a skills-based permanent visa.

Of the 146,000 New Zealand born migrants who arrived in Australia between 2002 and 2011, only 8.4 per cent acquired Australian citizenship by the time of last year’s census. Comparatively, between the years 1985 and 2000, 40-50 per cent of New Zealanders living in Australia took up citizenship.

Prior to the change in legislation, the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement of 1973 allowed for the free movement of people between the two neighbouring countries.

From July 1, 2017, New Zealanders who arrived in Australia between February 2001 and February 2016 may become eligible for a new permanent visa, the Skilled Independent visa. The new visa requires the person to have earned above the temporary skilled migration income threshold for five consecutive years.

For more information on the Skilled Independent visa, visit the Australian Government’s website here.