Oz rules deny Kiwi expats federal and state benefits

Published:  15 Jan at 6 PM
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New Zealand expats and their children living in Australia are being relegated to a low-paid, low-skilled second-class status by the effects of changes in social benefit laws passed in 2001.

Although studies repeatedly reveal that immigrants arriving from New Zealand are making the move for better jobs, higher wages, a better lifestyle and more opportunities, these benefits are being denied both to the original migrants and to their children. Few are granted citizenship of permanent residency, and their children are denied student loans, scholarships or grants, putting further education beyond their grasp.

The situation has resulted in a warning from Australia’s newly–formed Multicultural Council that hard-working, loyal Kiwi migrants are becoming a permanent second-class expat community with no hope of bettering themselves. The warning also states that the emergence of a socially and economically disadvantaged and marginalised group was not envisaged as a result of the 2011 changes in the law.

The original laws were designed to prevent backdoor immigration from South Pacific island nations and Hong Kong, although a second aim was to lower the cost of social security payments to Kiwis. As a result, Australia’s welfare safety net is closed to expat New Zealanders, with no dole, disability payments, apprenticeships or financial aid for educational purposes.

Individual states have added more exclusions such as emergency housing, discounted student travel and aid for domestic violence victims. In spite of being regarded as second-class citizens, expat Kiwis are known to be hard workers, mostly in full-time employment and with fuller workplace participation than their Australian equivalents.
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