Despite some reports of New Zealanders living in Australia returning to their country of origin, there has been a documented long-term increase of New Zealand citizens settling in Australia. In 2012-13, permanent arrivals of New Zealand citizens in Australia increased to 10,875 people, an increase of 19.5% from the previous year. New Zealanders represent the second largest group of Australian citizens born overseas, after those born in the UK.
According to the ABS, between 2005 and 2015 the percentage of Australian citizens born in New Zealand increased from 2% to 2.5% of the total population. Considering that Australia’s population also grew over that period, this represents a significant increase in New Zealanders migrating to Australia.
New Zealanders in Australia have a high rate of workforce participation, with 78.2% reported to be employed in 2012 (compared with only 68% of people who were born in Australia.
New Zealanders moving to Australia – whether short-term, medium-turn or permanently – receive many preferential benefits which citizens of other countries do not. New Zealand citizens are entitled to a special category of visa which means they can live, study and work in Australia as long as they like, as long as they retain their New Zealand citizenship over that time. New Zealanders will need to ensure they have a valid NZ passport before arriving in Australia.
This does not automatically make New Zealand citizens permanent residents. They still need to successively apply for permanent residency in order to gain certain privileges, such as unemployment and health benefits, and in order to then apply for Australian citizenship. Even still, it is much easier for New Zealand citizens to live, work and study in Australia compared with citizens from any other foreign country.
New Zealand and Australia also have a reciprocal health care agreement, which means the New Zealand citizens living in Australia have access to the same public health care (Medicare) as Australians.