Information and tip sheets to help workers navigate the Access and Eligibility for Financial Support for New Zealand migrants living in Australia.
In October 2016, at the Eastern Homelessness Services System Alliance (EHSSA) meeting, there were concerns raised regarding the lack of options open to New Zealand clients, who do not hold a permanent visa and are not Australian Citizens, who have found themselves in housing crisis.
Due to their residency status, they are ineligible for most government benefits, including Newstart. Without financial support it is evident that individuals and families that find themselves in crisis are disadvantaged when it comes to the support and accommodation options that services can provide. They are also ineligible for Social Housing.
The following information has been developed to help workers navigate the options available to this cohort.
Citizenship - Changes affecting New Zealand Citizens
The Special Category Visa (SCV) was introduced specifically for New Zealand citizens who wanted to live and work in Australia. Prior to 2001, New Zealand citizens in Australia on SCVs could access social security and obtain Australian citizenship without first becoming permanent residents. This group of people is generally referred to as Protected SCV.
However, in February 2001 Australia and New Zealand amended citizenship laws for New Zealand citizens. Under these changes, all New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and who want to access certain social security payments, can only do so after obtaining, permanent residence through the migration program. This group of people is referred to as Non Protected SCV. It is this group of people that are most disadvantaged in regards to housing support.
In February 2016 new visa pathways for New Zealander's were announced. http://www.border.gov.au/Visasupport/Pages/an-additional-pathway.aspx.
NZ Client Eligibility - Timeline tipsheet
Assisting NZ clients Information sheet
Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection - New Zealand Citizens Living in Australia
The EHSSA continues to advocate this issue and welcomes any examples or evidence that will help support us do this. Please email EHNnetworker@wesley.org.au if your organisation has had experience of supporting clients in this situation.