# AUSTRALIA EASES PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP FOR NEW ZEALANDERS
Australia has announced a new pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders residing in the country. The move came a day before a visit by New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. Effective from July, New Zealand citizens who have lived in Australia for four years or more will no longer have to become permanent residents before applying for citizenship. This reversal of controversial visa rules has been widely welcomed. The changes will also entitle children born in Australia to an Australia-based New Zealand parent with automatic Australian citizenship.
## A VICTORY FOR NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand has long campaigned for changes since visa rules were altered in 2001, making it more complicated for Kiwis in Australia to get citizenship. The reform will bring New Zealanders’ rights more in line with those of Australian expats living in New Zealand. New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins lauded the move as the “biggest improvement in the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia in a generation.”
Around 670,000 New Zealand citizens live in Australia, while there are about 70,000 Australians in New Zealand. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has indicated the new changes will provide critical services to these people.
## DUAL CITIZENSHIP
The good news is that Kiwis taking up Australian citizenship will retain their New Zealand citizenship. These dual citizens are not lost to New Zealand but bring the two countries closer together, Prime Minister Hipkins said in a statement. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil ruled out other migrant groups benefiting from these changes, saying it is a “special arrangement with New Zealand.”
## IMPACT ON AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY
The new changes will benefit both countries. The Australian economy relies heavily on the Kiwis in their workforce. There are also benefits for the New Zealand economy. Australian citizenship for New Zealanders means that they will be able to access more benefits like TAFE and university fee loans. They will have greater job opportunities and will be able to get access to certain government services that are usually reserved for Australian citizens.
On the whole, the reversal of controversial visa rules by Australia is a victory for New Zealand, bringing the two countries closer together. Since roughly 2020, Australia has been reviewing visa rules to make it easier for migrants to obtain citizenship. New Zealand is one of the few countries to have a visa agreement with Australia, so this change is being hailed as a win.
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