Australia New Zealand relationship

New Zealand has always had a friendly relationship with our neighbour Australia. New Zealand citizens do not need a visa to travel to Australia, and before 1981, we could travel there freely without a passport. It was called the “lucky country” because of its mineral wealth, and good jobs were available. Many New Zealanders moved there and stayed there and became expats. Expats are people who have lived in another country a long time but are not residents or citizens of that country. New Zealand expats had a special category visa which meant they could stay and work in Australia if they remained New Zealand citizens.

Australia last week announced that expat New Zealand students at Australian universities, would have to pay international fees next year instead of domestic fees. This is a shock as it was not expected. But things have been changing gradually for New Zealand expats. From 2001, they were not eligible for a sickness or unemployment benefit. They cannot vote in Australian elections. Yet, those who have been living there a long time said they were working, paying taxes and should have the same rights as Australian citizens.

Australians living in New Zealand, on the other hand, can vote after a year, and are eligible for benefits after 2 years. They pay the same university fees as New Zealand students. However, to be fair, there are now more than 600,000 New Zealanders living in Australia, but only about 70,000 Australians living in New Zealand.

The Australian government says that now expat New Zealanders will be able to apply for citizenship if they have been earning $53,000 or more for the last 5 years. The process could take 4 years.

For more about our relationship with Australia, listen to
November 12th 2015


• mineral wealth – Australia has many minerals e.g. gold, silver, copper, iron ore, uranium, coal
• eligible (adj) – have the right background or qualifications to be chosen; eligibility (n)

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