9.1.3 New Zealand citizens

SCV

The SCV for New Zealanders was introduced on 1 September 1994. Before 1 September 1994, New Zealand citizens were allowed to enter Australia to visit, work or live without a visa. They had to travel on their New Zealand passport to take advantage of these arrangements.

The SCV allows a New Zealand citizen to remain in Australia indefinitely. There are no work restrictions for SCV holders.

New Zealand citizens do not have to apply for an SCV prior to coming to Australia. On arrival to Australia, most New Zealand citizens travelling on a New Zealand passport who do not hold another visa are granted an SCV.

Changes from 26 February 2001

Since 26 February 2001, only 'protected' SCV holders meet the definition of Australian resident (see below). Non-protected SCV holders do not meet the definition of Australian resident and are generally not entitled to Australian social security payments, unless they meet the exemption from the residence requirements for JSP and YA (see below) or they are qualified under the Social Security Agreement with New Zealand (10.2).

New Zealanders who are not a protected SCV holder must apply for and be granted a permanent visa in order to meet the definition of an Australian resident and gain full access to social security payments.

All SCV holders can access family payments, including FTB and payments under the PPL scheme, where eligible (FA Guide 2.1.2.10, PPL Guide 2.2.4.10).

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who …

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.1.10 Residence requirements

Protected SCV holders

Protected SCV holders are not affected by the changes to payment access from 26 February 2001. They continue to meet the definition of an Australian resident for the purpose of the SSAct. This means they may be eligible for social security payments and concession cards, subject to meeting normal qualification and payability conditions.

A person is automatically considered a protected SCV holder if ONE of the following applies:

  • they were an SCV holder who was in Australia on 26 February 2001, or
  • they were an SCV holder who was in Australia as an SCV holder for a period of, or periods totalling, 12 months during the period 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001.

A person is also automatically considered a protected SCV holder if ALL of the following apply:

  • they were residing in Australia but were temporarily absent on 26 February 2001
  • they held an SCV immediately before their temporary absence from Australia
  • they were receiving a social security payment on 26 February 2001, AND
  • they returned to Australia before the later of 26 August 2001 or their portability extension date.

The following SCV holders were required to apply for a determination in order to be considered a protected SCV holder. The determination had to be sought within a particular timeframe to preserve their entitlement to social security payments in the future:

  • an SCV holder who commenced or recommenced residing in Australia within 3 months between 26 February 2001 and 26 May 2001 (but did not meet the above criteria for automatic protected status as outlined above), or
  • an SCV holder who was residing in Australia, but was temporarily absent and was not receiving a social security payment on 26 February 2001.

A determination could be applied for by making a request to Centrelink for a decision or by claiming and being residentially qualified for a social security payment. Either determination protected a person's future entitlement to social security payments.

If the SCV holder … then they needed to …
commenced/recommenced residing in Australia by 26 May 2001 apply for a determination before 26 February 2004.
was residing in Australia, but temporarily absent on 26 February 2001, and NOT in receipt of an Australian social security payment apply for a determination before 26 February 2002.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(2A) to section 7(2G) A person is a protected SCV holder if …

Residence exemption for JSP & YA

There is a safety net for New Zealand citizens who are the holders of an SCV who are not a protected SCV holder and do not meet the definition of an Australian resident for social security purposes.

These SCV holders may be exempt from the residence requirements and may qualify for a one-off period of payment for up to 6 months of either JSP or YA (subject to meeting all other qualification requirements) if immediately before claiming, they:

  • are the holder of an SCV, and
  • have resided in Australia continuously for at least 10 years since 26 February 2001.

Note: This safety net previously applied to NSA and SA until they ceased with the creation of the JSP.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(7) … exempt from the residence requirement …

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.1.10 Residence requirements, 3.2.1.05 Qualification for JSP, 3.2.3.10 Qualification for YA

International social security agreement with New Zealand

SCV holders may be eligible for Age, DSP (if severely disabled), or CP (if partnered to a DSP recipient) under the social security agreement with New Zealand, irrespective of whether they are protected or non-protected SCV holders residing in Australia.

Act reference: SS(IntAgree)Act Schedule 3 New Zealand

Policy reference: SS Guide 10.2 Agreement with New Zealand

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