• The Great Escape


Updated: Mar 29, 2020

Friday Funny 不不

Now that I've got your attention with that hilarious joke, can I take a quick minute to talk about Aussie/Kiwi relations?

I gather they've been in the news a wee bit lately after Jacinda Ardern publicly called out Scott Morrison (ScoMo) on them recently.

Now I'm in no way interested in making this page political, but lately as a result of that speech I'm seeing some real hate towards Kiwis from Aussies. Lots of "if you don't like it here go back where you came from" type comments which makes me really sad. Plus quite a few people asking (quite legitimately) why, if Kiwis living in Australia love it so much, have they not taken on Australian Citizenship? And the answer to that is simple: In most cases if they could, they would. But unfortunately, it's actually not that simple at all.

I'm sure most people are aware that Australia and New Zealand share a fantastic relationship. NZ is our closest neighbour, and our strongest ally. They are our brothers and sisters, and as such we share a fairly love/hate relationship that includes rather a lot of piss (or is it puss?) taking on both sides.

We also have a great reciprocal arrangement in that Aussies and Kiwis can freely and easily visit and work in each others countries indefinitely. Plus, we have access to each others universal healthcare schemes. And as someone who is an Aussie married to a Kiwi, with one Kiwi kid and one Aussie kid I am immensely grateful that such an agreement exists, as I'm sure are most people who have chosen to visit, travel or work across both countries at some point in their lives.

But if we're being completely honest about it, it's actually NOT a reciprocal agreement at all. It was, once, when it was first established, but Australia changed the rules back in 2001, and since then Kiwis in Aus haven't been getting quite as a good a deal as Aussies get in NZ.

So where once we could freely work in each others countries and soon also have access (after a period of time) to benefits like social security, plus an easier pathway to citizenship, unfortunately that is no longer the case. Now when Kiwis arrive in Aus they are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (which is exclusive to NZ citizens) that allows them to live and work (and pay taxes) in Aus indefinitely. But it is not a permanent residency visa, it can be revoked at any time, and it does not allow people to ever have access to Centrelink benefits, no matter how long they've been working and paying taxes in Aus for. It also doesn't give them any rights to citizenship. If Kiwis want to go down the citizenship route it is often actually harder for them then many other nationalities. And before they can apply they first have to spend thousands of dollars applying for a permanent residency visa, which in many cases they're not eligible for anyway as they have to meet certain skill shortage or income requirements in order to apply. Consequentially you won't find too many Kiwis living in Aus that have taken on Aus citizenship, unless they arrived before 2001 when the rules were changed. This includes Kiwis who moved to Aus as children, and have lived their whole lives in Australia, which is why Jacinda Adern feels that these people should not be liable for deportation back to NZ, as for all intents and purposes they are Aussies, and would no doubt be citizens if the process of citizenship for Kiwis living in Aus wasn't so challenging.

Compare all that to Aussies living in NZ who are automatically eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years, and are treated as permanent residents as long as they stay for (or intended to stay for) 2 years, and you can see that our reciprocal agreement ain't so reciprocal after all.

In our personal situation for example, Nathan lived, worked, and paid taxes in Australia for 10 years. He married an Australian, and had an Australian child. On multiple occasions we looked into getting him Australian citizenship, and not only was it a hellishly expensive, long and complicated process (as citizenship processes generally are) but last time we tried he simply wasn't eligible so it wasn't even possible. Furthermore when I was working and Nathan was at home raising our (Australian) child, we looked into a parenting payment from Centrelink. But because he was the one staying at home, and he was a Kiwi, we were not eligible for it. If however I, the Aussie, was the one staying at home then we would have been. Despite the fact we're both raising the same Australian child.

Former NZ Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon once famously (and hilariously) said that New Zealanders moving to Australia 'raised the IQ of both countries'. And I dunno, sometimes I wonder if he's got a point)

佞 喫

NOTE: Comments and discussion are welcome, but as usual racist, nasty or abusive remarks are not, and never will be welcome on this page.

Also, I am not an immigration expert. I'm relaying what I know, based on my own experiences. As with all things on social media (and even the actual media these days) you should not take what I say as gospel, and if you wish to immigrate between Aus & NZ do your own research)

A fantastic resource on this topic is Oz Kiwi who have some fabulous information if you'd like to learn more!

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