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Moving to Australia from New Zealand

Moving to Australia from New Zealand

Thousands of people decide to move to Australia every year. If you're a New Zealand citizen, here are some answers to commonly asked questions around visas, citizenship and preparing for your move.

Do I need a visa?

Most New Zealand citizens can live and work in Australia indefinitely without having to apply for a visa. Upon entry you may be entitled to get a visa called SCV (Special Category Visa – Subclass 444). Keep in mind:

  • A SCV is a temporary, unprotected visa, which means you won’t be entitled to certain social welfare allowances or access study loans or allowances
  • Retired New Zealand citizens receiving NZ Super (pension). Find out if there’s an equivalent payment you’ll be eligible to receive in Australia  

What if I want to become an Australian citizen?

If you’re planning on staying in Australia for more than just a few years, you may want to become an Australian citizen - which you can do without losing your New Zealand citizenship. Although there’s a range of permanent residency options available to New Zealanders, the two most common are:

Keep in mind:

  • To become an Australian citizen, you'll need to become a permanent resident first
  • After you've been granted residency, a two year waiting period may still apply before you can start accessing social security payments and sickness benefits
  • Everyones situation is different, so it may be a good idea to chat to an expert at the Department of Home Affairs or by using the services of a registered migration agency

Getting an Australian bank account

Most of the big banks will let you open an Australian bank account online. Keep in mind, you may need to show ID in a branch in Australia before you can withdraw money. Tips:

  • Avoid dealing with physical cash and travellers cheques, by opening an account before you leave NZ
  • Do it all online. Open a bank account, convert your money, and deposit it into your new Australian bank account all before you arrive
  • Shop around before deciding how you’ll convert your money

Health care in Australia

New Zealand citizens living in Australia are entitled to subsidised health care (Medicare) under the reciprocal health care agreement between New Zealand and Australia. Cover starts the day you arrive in Australia. What’s covered?

  • Medically necessary care as a public patient in a public hospital
  • Prescription medicines at a lower price - this is the general rate for drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) list

Studying in Australia

New Zealand citizens living in Australia:

  • Get subsidised primary and secondary school education
  • Don’t need a student visa to study at Australian tertiary institutions 
  • Pay domestic student fees rather than international student fees for tertiary education
  • Aren’t usually eligible for Australian student loans or study allowances. For information on financial assistance though, visit Study Assist

Working in Australia

As a NZ citizen, you can start working in Australia as soon as you arrive. If you want to get started before you get here, SeekLinkedIn and even Gumtree are great places to start. Learn more about what qualifications are recognised in Australia?

Paying tax

  • The Australian equivalent of an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number is a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australia Taxation Office (ATO)
  • You can apply for a TFN online, but only after you arrive in Australia
  • Find our more about the latest individual income tax rates
  • To find out whether you pay tax in Australia or New Zealand, check with the IRD

This article covers general information about things you need to know about moving to Australia, and doesn't take your individual circumstances into account. Please use it as a guide only.