You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kiwis unaffected by citizenship crackdown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/04/2017 Dan McCulloch

Malcolm Turnbull has assured his New Zealand counterpart Bill English that a citizenship deal between the countries will not be affected by a crackdown announced in Canberra last week.

The prime minister's confirmation came after Mr English this week labelled the citizenship changes disappointing and raised concerns they would ensnare tens of thousands of Kiwis living abroad.

Under the trans-Tasman deal, Kiwis who arrived in Australia between February 2001 and February 2016 and earned more than $53,000 a year for five consecutive years can apply for permanent residency from July and citizenship next year.

"Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed the pathway to citizenship for eligible New Zealanders, announced in February 2016, has not been changed," a spokeswoman for Mr English said on Friday after the leaders discussed the issue.

"It remains in place and on track, and is separate from the citizenship changes which Australia announced last week."

Australia has tightened its rules around citizenship, requiring people to be permanent residents for four years before being eligible, up from one year.

Mr Dutton on Monday indicated there was no exemption for New Zealanders tied to the citizenship changes.

"The citizenship changes announced last week come into effect immediately, and will apply to all applications for citizenship received from that date onwards," a spokesperson for the minister said.

But New Zealand says this will not apply to Kiwis covered by the agreement.

This is because under the deal, eligible New Zealanders can usually apply for citizenship after four years of permanent residence, granted they clear each of the hurdles set out.

On Monday, Mr Dutton noted Australian visa arrangements for New Zealand citizens were more generous than those for citizens of any other country.

"For the past five years, New Zealand nationals have been in the top 10 nationalities of persons who have acquired Australian citizenship," a spokesperson said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon