The initial uptake for a much heralded new visa pathway for New Zealanders in Australia has been slower than some expected, with under 1000 applying in first month.
According to figures provided to 1 NEWS from Australia’s Immigration Department, fewer than 1000 Kiwis have applied for permanent residency under the pathway in its first month.
The Australian Government had estimated 70,000 New Zealanders were eligible when it opened on July 1.
The early number of applicants has been described as “quite low” by the chairman of advocacy group Oz Kiwi, Tim Gassin.
But Mr Gassin says that could be due to a number of reasons, including people gathering information that they had not been made aware they needed.
He says people have been caught out by being asked for the dates of their overseas travel for the last 10 years, as well as the need to get criminal record checks in New Zealand.
The cost of the application (NZD $3,900) may also be having an effect.
In a statement to 1 NEWS, a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection said there has been “strong interest” in the pathway, “with over 700 applications already received and being actively processed by the Department”.
Under the new visa New Zealanders would become permanent residents, then become eligible for Australian citizenship in one year.
Courtesy of Kimberlee Downs – Australian Correspondent for TVNZ
These figures are something of a surprise given the sustained criticism from the New Zealand expatriate community about being shut out of permanent residency and then consequential Australian citizenship status – if desirable. The fees and information are what every other applicant seeking permanent residency is required to provide with the exception of a concession offering staggered government fee payment,
I believe this figure will increase once better information is disseminated to those eligible to apply and we are happy to speak to any persons who believe they are eligible for this new pathway to permanent residency. It is a beneficial pathway based purely upon length of residence and salary levels, but of course will be subject to all applicants meeting health and character requirements.