Employing NZ Citizens in Australia

Which Visa Do NZ Citizens Hold in Australia?

NZ citizens are generally granted Special Category Visas automatically on entry to Australia.

The Special Category Subclass 444 Visa allows New Zealand citizens to stay in Australia indefinitely and work full time in Australia.

However, New Zealand citizens holding special category visas are considered temporary residents only, and may be subject to cancellation.

How Many Special Category Visa Holders Are There in Australia?

As of 31 July 2023, there were around 700,330 NZ citizens on Special Category Visas in Australia.

How Long Does a Special Category Visa Last?

New Zealand citizens can remain in Australia on a special category visa indefinitely.

Work Rights for NZ Citizens in Australia

Holders of Special Category Subclass 444 Visas have unrestricted work rights in Australia and can work full time.

Dependents of New Zealand Citizens in Australia

Spouses and children of New Zealand citizens are not eligible for special category visas unless they are NZ citizens themselves. NZ citizens can sponsor their family members for New Zealand Citizen family dependent subclass 461 visas which also have full work rights. However, the 461 visa is only valid for 5 years.

Risk of Cancellation for New Zealand Citizens in Australia

NZ citizens have increasingly been subject to cancellation due to character issues. NZ citizens are now the largest single nationality in immigration detention.

Further Visa Options for Special Category Visa Holders

From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens holding a 444 visa may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral. This would require them to meet residence requirements.

How Often Should I Check Work Rights for Special Category Visa Holders

Under the Employer Sanctions Legislation, it is sufficient to sight an NZ passport to establish a NZ citizen’s right to work in Australia.

However, due to the increased numbers of New Zealand citizens facing cancellation of their visas on character grounds, we would recommend still checking visa status through vSure before employment and at least once every year during employment.

Summary – Employing NZ Citizen Staff

New Zealand Citizens are the largest single group of temporary visa holders in Australia. As they have full work rights and can remain in Australia indefinitely, they are relatively safe to employ.

However, the increasing number of NZ citizens having their visas cancelled on character grounds means that it is prudent for employer to check visas even for this group.

How vSure Can Help

The vSure Work Rights app has been built to ensure Australian employers are compliant with the obligations to take “reasonable steps at reasonable times” to check employee work rights.

Rather than having to manually check individuals, vSure has been built specifically for employers with non-citizen / foreign workers to check and automatically keep checking work rights. The app will email or SMS you each time it checks (generally monthly), ensuring you maintain your compliance, without the manual effort.

If you want the easiest and most effective way to ensure work rights compliance, please click here to request a demonstration today.