Easier Australian citizenship for Kiwis

The Herald reports:

Thousands of Kiwis who arrived in after it tightened its immigration rules in 2001 will now be given an easier path to seek Australian citizenship under certain conditions.

If they earned A$53,000 over five consecutive years ($57,000) between 2001 and today, they will eventually be able to apply for permanent residence and eventually apply for citizenship.

Mr Key estimates that up to 100,000 of the 305,000 Kiwis who arrived to live in Australia between 2001 and today could meet the criteria and get a new pathway to citizenship.

That’s the best solution for Kiwis in Australia who don’t get the same rights as Australians – allow them to become Australians.

Tracy Watkins notes how rare this is:

Leverage – it’s that thing Australia has got in spades in the trans-Tasman relationship, and something that has always been in short supply on our side.

So whether it’s thanks to Pyjama diplomacy, trans-Tasman arm wrestling or the Anzac spirit, Malcolm Turnbull’s move to open the door wider to Kiwis across the Tasman is the first real instance of an Australian leader backing up his words about our “special relationship” with action on the expat front.

Actions, not words.

The most important plus is the reversal in trans-Tasman flows to a small net gain in people crossing the ditch from Australia to New Zealand, rather than the other way.

It would have been much harder to sell the deal if there were still 35,000 Kiwis a year flooding Australia’s borders, as there were when the Key government first took power.

It helps also that in the Australian business community at least, New Zealand is no longer seen as a basket case economy – in fact, most look across the Tasman with envy and ask their Government why things are not so good in Australia.

Our economic strength made this possible.

But there is also a personal dimension to the win.

Key and Turnbull clearly have a warm relationship – something that took Australian media by surprise when they learned Turnbull was hosting John and Bronagh Key overnight at his Sydney waterfront mansion.

They were dubbing it Pyjama diplomacy, noting that it was unprecedented for an Australian leader to host a visiting foreign leader at their own home.

And relationships count.

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