Living in Australia
From 26 February 2001, New Zealand citizens travelling on a New Zealand passport are eligible for a special category visa subclass SC444, which provides unlimited temporary stay and work rights in Australia (provided you have no criminal convictions or serious pre-existing health conditions such as tuberculosis). The SC444 is processed at the border when you travel on your New Zealand passport.
However, from this date (26 February 2001), new eligibility conditions for most social security payments were put in place and linked to whether or not the individual New Zealand citizen has attained permanent resident status - be that from already living in Australia or some 'exception' or as the result of successfully applying for a permanent residence visa (but still having to reside in Australia for two years before becoming eligible for most social security).
For detailed information about New Zealand citizens' eligibility for social security payments (including the age pension and disability support pension) please visit the website for Services Australia.
New Zealand citizens living in Australia are still entitled to other services such as subsidised health care (Medicare) and primary and secondary school education. For information on the reciprocal health care agreement between New Zealand and Australia, please visit this website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find out about available jobs in Australia?
There are many avenues to finding a job in Australia. The two main avenues for people in New Zealand are Australian newspapers and internet-based sites.
Positions vacant usually appears in Saturday newspapers. Australian papers are available at the main public libraries in Wellington and Auckland. Additionally, several newsagents in the larger New Zealand cities sell Australian newspapers. If your local newsagent does not already stock these newspapers, they may be able to order them for you.
There are hundreds of career and employment agencies on the internet. Some agencies have listings of available positions, others will take your CV and match you to available positions. Most major government agencies and corporate companies have their own websites with positions vacant/careers sections. Australian JobSearch lists vacancies in Government departments across Australia. Other useful websites include Jobsearch and Careerjet.
For doctors wishing to work in Australia, more information is available at www.doctorconnect.gov.au.
Will my professional and/or trade qualifications be recognised in Australia?
The National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) website has information on what steps to take to have overseas qualifications recognised in Australia.
Where can I find out differences between Australia and New Zealand in areas such as salaries, cost of living, health and education?
The best place to start when comparing salaries and living costs in either country is to do a broad internet or newspaper search. Look for salaries of comparative jobs in the job classifieds, and comparative housing costs in the housing classifieds. Australian newspapers are available online as well as in some public libraries. Newspapers and supermarket internet sites can give an indication of grocery costs.
What things do I need to know or do once I arrive in Australia to settle?
The are a few basic tasks that all new migrants to Australia should endeavour to get completed as soon as practicable. Setting up a bank account, Medicare card, Australian Tax File number etc. The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs' website has general information on settling in for new migrants.
As a New Zealand citizen, can I study at an Australian University?
New Zealand citizens can study at Australian tertiary institutions and are eligible to pay domestic, not international fees. However, many New Zealand citizens will not be eligible for any kind of student loan to pay university fees, or be eligible for a student allowance to pay for living costs. Go to Services Australia website for more information on student allowances, as well as the Study Assist website for information on student loans.
What are the tax rates in Australia?
Tax rates in Australia can be found on the Australian Taxation Office website.
Can I obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) before I arrive in Australia?
The Australian Taxation Office has advised the Australian High Commission that Tax File Number applications for individuals intending to reside in Australia will not be processed unless the applicant has already arrived in Australia. For further information, please contact the Australian Taxation Office on +61 2 6216 1111 or visit http://www.ato.gov.au/.
I paid tax while working in Australia, can I get a tax refund now that I am in New Zealand?
You may be eligible for a partial or full tax refund, depending on how much you earned while working in Australia. At the end of the Australian financial year (30 June) you can complete your tax return online or request forms at the Australian Taxation Office e-Tax website. Alternatively you can contact the Austalian Taxation Office by telephone on +61 2 6216 1111 during Australian office hours.
Are New Zealand or Australian citizens able to access their superannuation if they have permanently departed Australia?
For information regarding superannuation in Australia please visit www.ato.gov.au/super.
I am retired and want to move to Australia. Can I get the pension in Australia?
Retired New Zealand citizens receiving New Zealand superannuation who wish to move to Australia must consult with Work and Income New Zealand as part of the process. For information on the agreement in place between Australia and New Zealand on pensions, visit Services Australia.
The pension in Australia is both asset and means tested. To find out what the asset and income thresholds are, please visit this website.
Services Australia administers social security payments on behalf of the Australian Government. Services Australia also provide a series of factsheets outling what payment rates are made for each type of benefit - visit their payments page for details. For international telephone numbers for Services Australia, including free call numbers, please visit this website.
More helpful information
For Family Assistance, visit this website.
The websites for information on education in each State or Territory are:
- New South Wales www.det.nsw.edu.au
- Victoria http://www.education.vic.gov.au
- Queensland www.education.qld.gov.au
- South Australia www.dete.sa.gov.au
- Western Australia www.des.wa.gov.au
- Tasmania www.education.tas.gov.au
- Northern Territory www.deet.nt.gov.au
- ACT www.det.act.gov.au
At national level the key Government organisation is the Department of Education: http://education.gov.au/
Higher Education Contribution Scheme - www.studyassist.gov.au
Commonwealth Government's Study in Australia website - www.studyinaustralia.gov.au
Information on health cover provided by Medibank Private for international students and New Zealanders is located at www.medibank.com.au
Information on tax is available from the Australian Taxation Office's website www.ato.gov.au
A specialist Government site for businesses, known as Business Entry Point, is available at www.business.gov.au and includes a facility for registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN) or GST.
Further information on citizenship is located on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/.
Enquiries about obtaining an Australian Passport in New Zealand should be made to the Consular/Passports section at the High Commission in Wellington or the Consulate-General in Auckland.
If you want to find out about requirements for driver licensing in each State or Territory, contact details of the relevant offices are available here.
The Australian Electoral Commission (www.aec.gov.au) is responsible for voting at federal elections.
The Foreign Investment Review Board is an agency of the Department of the Treasury in Australia. It considers proposals to invest in certain types of real estate in Australia.