Some babies included in New Zealand-Australia citizenship changes

The children of certain New Zealanders will automatically acquire Australian citizenship if they are born here as part of sweeping changes to bring in line the rights of expats of the two countries.

Anthony Albanese said on Sunday that any child born in Australia from July 1 2022 to a New Zealand parent who holds a special category visa and is a permanent resident will become a citizen at birth.

The Prime Minister made the remarks as he spoke to reporters alongside his Kiwi counterpart, Chris Hipkins, in Brisbane where the two leaders hailed their new citizenship arrangements as commonsense.

Australia announced on Saturday a direct pathway to citizenship for about 380,000 New Zealanders living in the country, reversing controversial visa rules the Howard government implemented in 2001.

Special category visa holders who have been living in Australia for four years and meet other eligibility requirements will be able to apply directly for citizenship without becoming permanent residents first.

Mr Albanese said on Sunday the changes would bring Kiwis’ rights in line with those of Australians living in New Zealand and “normalise relations” between the two countries.

“You know what true friends and mates … do; they have equal relations. And that’s the partnership Australia and New Zealand have,” he said.

“We are absolutely close allies and will remain that in perpetuity. I can’t imagine a circumstance where Australia and New Zealand aren’t the closest of friends.”

Asked whether the new arrangements would accelerate a “brain drain” for New Zealand, Mr Albanese said the changes would immediately apply to Kiwis who had already chosen to live in Australia.

“We welcome all your smartest and brightest, but I have never met a Kiwi that wasn’t smart and bright,” he said.

“But more seriously, the contribution is already being made. These are people who are here, now.”

Kiwis form the fourth largest migrant community in Australia, making up about 7.5 per cent of the overseas-born population.

New Zealanders who came to Australia before 2001 were automatically granted permanent residency but since the Howard-era changes, new arrivals have been placed on a special category visa.

These visas allowed Kiwis to live and work in Australia indefinitely but restricted their access to Medicare and government welfare and meant they had to become permanent residents before applying for citizenship.

Mr Hipkins said the updated arrangements were about “fairness” and he didn’t believe they would result in more New Zealanders moving to Australia.

“I’m absolutely confident that New Zealanders living and making a life in New Zealand will want to continue to stay,” he said.

The two leaders attended a citizenship ceremony together earlier on Sunday.

The pair also held a bilateral meeting at which they discussed geostrategic challenges in the region and how their countries could work together to advance common interests including co-operating on climate change.

Mr Albanese and Mr Hipkins are due to meet again at King Charles’ coronation in London early next month and at the NATO summit in July.

Originally published as Babies born to some New Zealanders to get automatic Australian citizenship

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