Comparison Chart of most commonly known pathways to Permanent Residency in both NZ and Australia

Please always seek advice and clarification from Department of Immigration or contact a Migration Agent.

Created by Erina Anderson-Morunga

WHAT ARE THE PATHWAYS TO GETTING PERMANENT RESIDENCY (PR)? Remember, no PR, no citizenship, no opportunity to ever have a say or vote.

Did you know that Immigration employees all too often don't even understand their policies and they arenotorious for giving out the wrong information? 

To the best of our knowledge this is how some of the most common 'Pathways to permanent residency' work for New Zealanders in Australia - It's also important to note that meeting the health checks isn't fair as we are already exempt under the health reciprocal agreement unlike migrants from other countries who do not have these reciprocal agreements eg We qualify for medicare already. 

If you don't fit any of these then there is most likely no chance you can ever get it. We aren't specialists but from what we understand and our experiences these are pretty much the only ways to get PR. Please feel free to add any further insight or information from your experiences (not hearsay please).

1. Partner sponsorship - Costs approximately $5,000+. Must provide evidence of relationship. Don't necessarily need to be married. Need to pass good character/police checks and health checks.

2. Child sponsorship - Costs approximately $4,500+ per child unless applying for a family where costs decrease. Must pass health checks. Child must be under the age of 25yrs, be in full time study and totally dependent.

3. Sponsor a parent - Costs approximately $30,000+. Waiting period is around 15yrs or less if you pay more money.

4. Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) - Approximate costs unknown. 
Age restrictions were lifted in 2013 to allow New Zealanders over 50yrs to apply. 
Employers can only sponsor you if they are unable to fill your position with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 
Note: Most employers don't waste their time or money sponsoring New Zealanders because they don't need to and can employ us for no charge. Some do sponsor us because they value you that much as an employee. Others don't because they don't want to have to replace you with anyone else.

5. Skilled Occupation List (SOL) - Costs approximately $5,000+ minimum. 
Job must be on the list. 
List changes every year. 
Each skill is capped. 
Applicants must pass health and good character tests - including family members if applicant has a family as well.
Family members are extra in cost. Points tested 60 - 65pts required. Skill = 15pts. 
Rest made up of age and experience. Age restrictions (under 45yrs old although points for age once you hit 44yrs = 0).
No one can just apply. 
You must submit a letter of interest and wait to be invited by immigration to apply. 
Once invited you need to pay the non refundable application fee in full. 
Application then goes in with applicants from around the world. 
The ones with the most points will most likely be selected. 

6. Remaining relative visa - Costs approximately $5,000+ Must have no remaining relatives in NZ and family members must be PR or citizens. Criteria is very strict. We had a case where a 28yr old was declined based on his 'unknown' father on birth certificate could be alive and could be living in NZ?! Tried appealing but to no avail. Absolutely devastating for the family as they were relying on him to take care of his only sibling who was unwell should anything happen to parents. Sibling and parents are all Aus citizens.

7. Police officers in various (not all states) - I'll let you work it out from the message that was received in WA quite some months ago. Cost's around $5,000 per person or $10,000 for family. Non-refundable if any family member fails health checks (despite our reciprocal agreement).

Kiwi officers to get permanent residency

With the help of the WA Police Union, more than 100 serving police officers from New Zealand will now be afforded permanent residency by WA Police.

WAPU has been seeking a resolution to this issue for a number of years alongside the Police Federation of Australia and last week, Western Australia was the first State to offer permanent residency to police officers from NZ.

Previously, officers who joined WA Police from NZ could live in Australia under an immigration agreement between the two countries which granted officers a temporary visa.

However, this left many officers in an unfair position as it denied them access to publicly funded healthcare, social benefits or the ability for their children to access loans for their education.

The WA Police announcement will make many of our New Zealand nationals very pleased as they will no longer be treated like visitors in their own adopted home.

Despite officers having to pay all associated visa costs, I applaud the Agency, particularly Workforce Development Assistant Director Renae Lavell for making this pioneering decision and urge other jurisdictions across Australia to adopt this sponsorship approach.

It also goes without saying that New Zealand officers who take up permanent residency will be required to barrack for Australia in the next Bledisloe Cup!

8. Resident Return Visa (RRV) - Cost $345
By far the best and most affordable and accessible way to obtain permanent resident status. Catch is however you have to have been to Australia before 1st September 1994 and fulfil the criteria on the 1085 form. Instantly granted upon approval. Note: there is no time expectation of how long you had to be here. According to the Immigration website New Zealanders were granted PR UPON ARRIVAL. This means even if you were here briefly you may qualify. This has only become known to us since end of June, early July last year. Immigration call centre people are often still confused about this and some are still saying New Zealanders are not able to apply. No age restrictions, no tests to pass, no health checks. More information on this visa especially is on our

9. Special talent visa. Unsure how it works exactly except to say if Australia want you that can make it happen.

10. Business visa. Can't remember exact criteria but will add once I have time to research it more.

More info of course can be found on:

Good luck with deciphering the immigration website!

So as you can see, it's not as easy as 'Just applying' as most cannot possibly meet these pathways at all.

Na Erina