New Zealand accuses OZ of unfair Kiwi migrants visa rules

Published:  6 Feb at 6 PM
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Kiwi PM John Key recently accused Australia’s immigration department of applying discrimination against migrants from New Zealand in the matter of citizenship applications.

Key claims that the Oz immigration system prevents long-term Kiwi residents in Australia from becoming citizens and being granted the right to vote and claim social security benefits. His strongest criticism is levelled at the fact that New Zealanders working in Australia are being forced to pay taxes but are unable to claim benefits.

Key is due to meet with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for two-day bilateral talks between the two countries, and is determined to fight for the rights of the significant number of New Zealanders living in Australia on a permanent basis. Around 280,000 NZ citizens have emigrated since 2001, and are living under special category or temporary visas which give them few rights.

At the present time, Australia’s strict selection criteria and low immigration quotas is preventing around 100,000 New Zealand citizens from ever attaining Australian citizenship. According to the Oz Department of Immigration, talks are under way to allow those resident in the country to apply to become citizens after eight years of residence.

The Immigration Department strongly denies that discrimination is a factor, saying New Zealanders have the same right to apply for citizenship as do migrants from other countries. A spokesperson also confirmed that the current policy as regards New Zealand migrants is under review.
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