If you were living in Australia between the 27th Feb 2001 - 26th May 2001 AND you received any Centrelink payments up to 26th Feb 2004 e.g. Family Tax Benefit, Rental Assistance, job searches, Childcare etc OR made any inquiries either by phone or in person AND they have you recorded on their system you may be already a Permanent Resident therefore Protected and able to apply for Citizenship immediately .

If you think you meet this criteria you will need to contact Centrelink International Services on 131 673 Opt 2 to request a Certificate of Australian Residence. 

This avenue had for many years been closed off as Centrelink were supposed to be no longer re-issuing these certificates, however, suddenly they have resurfaced again! Which is a wonderful thing for many people. 

However, a word of caution. I have rung CIS a number of times and I have been getting the same types of mixed responses and contradictions depending on who takes the call so there seems to be confusion - a bit like Immigration!! I can however assure you this is legitimate and we have helped numerous people already.

As an aside, I also believe and have had confirmation from a Federal MP that there are some serious concerns around this policy and there are grounds to possibly form a class action law suit against the government because of poorly formed policy surrounding this avenue e.g. Why does Centrelink have the power to grant resident status in the first place? What about minors who were not able to apply themselves? This is easier said than done but I do believe it is our first REAL chance to fight something directly related to these laws which would begin to highlight and draw out the real reasons behind the 2001 legislations.

We do however need real life cases we can use and of course raise money for an immigration lawyer or find someone who would be willing to do it for free or pro bono. Anyway, we'll talk more about this as time goes on but for now, if you know anyone in this category let them know.

Nga mihi nui and thank you to our anonymous whanau for allowing us to share their experience,


We lived in Aus in March 2001 but left 3 months later as my hubby couldn’t find work. We were receiving Centrelink family assistance but it wasn’t enough for us to survive on so we returned to NZ. I contacted Iwi in Aus and asked if we fit into the Transition Period LOOPHOLE as a Permanent Resident.

I rang Hobart international services ph 131673 opt 2, gave them my details and asked for a certificate of residency as I would like to apply for citizenship. 

The first time I rang I was put through to an answer phone for Citizenship. I spoke to Erina who said no, I need to ring again but this time be confident! So I rang again, the second time I was told no it didn’t apply to me and again was put through to Citizenship answer ph service again. 

3rd time I rang back again and spoke to a lady at the call centre who once again said I needed to speak to Citizenship, this time I said ‘No! I believe that I am a permanent resident and I need you to send me proof of this as we lived here in March 2001. 

I am in the transition period as we lived here from March 2001 until June 2001 but had to return to NZ as my hubby couldn’t get work. She asked why we didn’t seek financial assistance to which I replied because we weren’t here for 2 years! 

We were forced to return home. She went and checked with her supervisor and returned apologising to me for the run-around as I had stated this is my 3rd phone call PLEASE DO NOT TRANSFER ME AGAIN!!! 

I then received a CERTIFICATE OF AUSTRALIAN RESIDENCE for myself from Centrelink. I then rang back and asked for the rest of my families’ letters which were then sent as well. We are now able to apply for Citizenship and ARE CLASSED AS PERMANENT RESIDENTS!

Anonymous WA