NZ Family Relationship Visa (Sub-Class 461)
This visa sub-class is peculiar to family members of NZ citizens and is available for any family member(s) of a Special Category (sub-class 444) (SCV) allowing them to travel to Australia or stay in Australia with the SCV visa holder on similar terms as the main SCV holder.
Unlike the SCV however, the NZ Family Relationship (Sub-class 461) visa is not issued automatically upon entry to Australia, but must be applied for – either inside or outside Australia – and the visa must be granted before the applicant can travel. If applied for in Australia, the applicant must already hold a valid Australian visa. The SC461 visa grants full work, travel and study rights.
2 Significant advantages
- Lower relationship evidence standard
De facto partner family members of SCV holders, are not required to meet the usual 12 month relationship rule (or even the abrigded period if the relationship is registered). However DIBP does have the ability to look at similar relationship factors as in the more substantial partner visas, such as
- social evidence,
- degree of financial connection between the parties,
- 3rd party support evidence and
- other usual relationship information.
As with most relationship based visas, the longer the period of the relationship the better. Cohabitation is not essential but it is arguably the best evidence of the existence of a legitimate relationship. 6 months is usually expected as a minimum period of relationship..
2. Relationship breakdown
Quite uniquely, the visa lasts for 5 years and can be renewed continuously by the SC461 visa holder, regardless of the status of the relationship relied upon for the visa, as long as
- The 461 visa holder does not become part of another persons family unit!
- The 461 visa holder continues to meet health and character requirements;
- The 461 visa holder maintains Australian residence if renewing on-shore (at least 2 out of the last 5 years).; and
- If currently outside Australia, the 461 visa holder held this visa when leaving Australia.
If the SC461 visa holder does become part of another persons family unit (SCV or Australian permanent resident or citizens), then they will be required to seek a more appropriate partner-based or other eligible visa.