HEY KIWIS: It's now easier for you to become Australians

THOUSANDS of Kiwis who arrived in Australia after it tightened its immigration rules in 2001 will now be given an easier path to seek Australian citizenship under certain conditions.

If they earned A$53,000 over five consecutive years between 2001 and today, they will eventually be able to apply for permanent residence and eventually apply for citizenship.

Mr Key estimates that up to 100,000 of the 305,000 Kiwis who arrived to live in Australia between 2001 and today could meet the criteria and get a new pathway to citizenship.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement in Sydney today after talks with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Treatment of Kiwis who arrived in Australia after 2001 has been a growing point of contention in an otherwise very close relationship between the two countries.

The changes in 2001 withdrew several types of benefit (unemployment, youth and sickness) for New Zealanders - who enter Australia on a Special Category Visa.

But the most significant change was to make it much harder to get citizenship.

It required Kiwis to compete with other immigrants for permanent residence - which is capped - instead of being able to skip that and apply directly for citizenship.

Some research has estimated that fewer than 10 per cent of New Zealand arrivals between 2006 and 2012 were granted permanent residency.

- NZ Herald

Topics:  citizenship editors picks new zealand

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