Australian Residence Visa Pathways

The Australian immigration system is one of the most complex in the world, and the path to an Australian Residence Visa is not obvious or straightforward in many instances.

VisaAide specialises in the movement of people between New Zealand and Australia. We have expert insights into the complex nature of both the Australian and NZ immigration systems.

As such we’re often able to provide you with Australian Residence Visa pathways you may not easily have discovered by yourself.

Be aware that the Australian Residence Visa process is very involved and can become expensive if you approach it incorrectly.

Australian permanent residency options for New Zealanders

Here are some of the most common pathways for New Zealanders to gain permanent residency in Australia.

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186)

There are three streams of this visa:

  • Direct Entry;
  • Labour Agreement: which must have an employer with a labour agreement;
  • Temporary Residence Transition Stream: for which you must hold a Subclass 457, Subclass 482, or related Bridging A, B, or C visa

New Zealand citizens would normally consider the Direct Entry stream. For this stream you must have an occupation on the relevant Skilled Occupation List.

New Zealand citizens who have worked for the nominating employer in the same position for at least two years in the last three years may not need to complete a Skills Assessment. Or else provide evidence of at least three years’ previous work experience. They may also be exempt from the age requirements. This makes this visa option available to those who are over 45 years of age, as well as making it a lot simpler than the Subclass 189 points-tested visa.

Find out more about Subclass 186.

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) New Zealand Stream

Here’s a quick overview of Subclass 189. You must have:

  • Started living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016;
  • Be a holder of a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444 visa);
  • Been usually resident in Australia for the last five years prior to application lodgement, and that this time started on or before the 19th of February 2016; 
  • A taxable income at or above a prescribed income threshold for a set period of time before your application is lodged;

There’s no need for an offer of employment or a sponsor for Subclass 189 NZ Stream. Read more about Subclass 189.

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) points test

For this type of application you must have:

  • An occupation on the relevant Skilled Occupation List; and
  • A skills assessment; and
  • Meet English criteria; and
  • Meet the points criteria; and
  • Complete an Expression of Interest and be invited to apply for this visa

This application does not require an offer of employment or sponsor.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

For this type of application you must:

  • Have an occupation on the relevant Skilled Occupation List;
  • Undergo a skills assessment;
  • Meet English language criteria;
  • Meet the points criteria;
  • Be nominated for this visa by an Australian state or territory government agency; and
  • Complete an Expression of Interest and be invited to apply for this visa.

Similar to Subclass 189, Visa Subclass 190 allows you to gain additional points for nomination. However, you may be required to work in the nominated state or territory for a period of time.

Find out more about Subclass 190.

Travelling to Australia with a Criminal History

Even minor convictions can create a less-than-pleasant experience at the border – yet travelling to Australia with a criminal record may still be possible. Here’s an overview of which criminal convictions prevent travel to Australia. VisaAide has extensive experience in dealing with character issues and we ensure our service is strictly confidential.

Find out more about travelling to Australia with a criminal record.

NZ Citizen Family Relationship Visa (Subclass 461)

Subclass 461 is one of the best temporary visas for Australia – and our immigration consultants at VisaAide specialise in applications for it. It’s for people who aren’t New Zealand citizens, but are in a relationship with (or a member of a family unit) of an NZ citizen who holds a Special Category Visa Subclass 444.

Subclass 461 is a five-year open work visa that allows unlimited travel to and from Australia within that time period.

Find out more about the Subclass 461 Visa.

Resident Return Visa

If you arrived in Australia prior to 1 September 1994 as a New Zealand citizen, even if it was for a holiday, you may be eligible for this visa in some rare circumstances.

This application can only be made while you are in Australia as the holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) Visa.

If you have spent more than five years outside of Australia since your pre-September 1994 arrival, you will need to provide evidence of your compelling or compassionate reasons for being absent from Australia.

Other Australian Residence Visa pathways

There may be other pathways for becoming a permanent resident in Australia, so you can stay indefinitely.

Please contact us to discuss your visa options for Australia.

Do you need help with Australian residence visas?

We specialise in Australian visas – contact us for up-to-date advice.