Australia remains tough on immigration

Radio New Zealand and INL Staff

The Australian Foreign Minister is not budging on her country’s tough stance on the detention and deportation of New Zealanders.

Julie Bishop was in Auckland on Saturday, February 10, 2018 for formal talks with her New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters.

The New Zealand Government has previously raised concerns about its citizens being treated unfairly as a result of Australian immigration policies.

That means non-citizens can have their visa cancelled if they fail a good character test.

Parity for all foreigners

Ms Bishop said that the policy applied to everyone, and New Zealanders were not being singled out.

But she said that there were ongoing discussions with the New Zealand Government about it.

“We do have a very close working relationship with New Zealand and cases are being managed and discussed and I reiterate Australia’s commitment to consult with New Zealand on matters that affect New Zealand citizens and affect our relationship,” she said.

The above Report has been published by Indian Newslink under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

Our Reporter adds:

Since 1 September 1994, all non-citizens in Australia must hold a visa.

Special Category Visa

New Zealand citizens arriving in Australia are issued with Special Category Visa (SCV), a temporary visa subject to health or character considerations.

Those with tuberculosis or any criminal convictions (that resulted in imprisonment or a suspended sentence) should approach the nearest Australian immigration office to discuss their entry to Australia before travelling to Australia.

People who become New Zealand citizens after their arrival in Australia, or enter on a passport from another country, can apply for an SCV at a departmental office.

In general, New Zealand citizens who were in Australia on September 1, 1994 automatically became SCV holders on that date.

Demand for Citizenship

Many New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia after February 26, 2001 have remained as SCV holders, awaiting Permanent Resident status, which is the preceding step for applying for Australian citizenship.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key had discussed the issue with his Australian counterparts at several meetings, but Australia has maintained its tough stand thus far.

A statement issued by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull following a meeting with Mr Key in Sydney on February 19, 2016 said that his government would be give an easier path to New Zealand citizens to become permanent residents.

But in reality, the tightness remains; because, the number of permanent resident applications approved is capped and according to one source, less than 10% of New Zealand citizens arriving between 2006 and 2012 were granted this status.

The source also said that the process of obtaining citizenship could be time-consuming and expensive, costing up to A$ 10,000 per person.

Photo Caption:

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishops after talks with her New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters at Waiheke on Saturday, February 10, 2018. RNZ Photo by Sarah Robson

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