Lucky Kiwi becomes Australian Permanent Resident

Are you from New Zealand? Do you currently hold a Special Category Visa (SCV)?

Read how one lucky New Zealander gained Australian Permanent Residency status, even though under normal circumstances he would not have been eligible.

The story below was initially published on the Australian Forum.

“I am a New Zealand citizen who moved to Australia in 2010. After a few years I began to get angry that there was no real possibility for me to become a permanent resident and thus ever apply for citizenship as I did not have the skills necessary for a skilled permanent visa, nor was in a relationship with an Australian so the partner visas were also out of reach for me.

In May 2013, Norfolk Island relaxed its immigration laws. The new laws which came in quickly now allowed for Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens to apply to be declared as a Norfolk Island resident immediately on arrival. They did this as an attempt to boost population levels. One of my Australian friends who was researching Migration for his degree sent me a me a message on Facebook alerting me to the new law. He then linked me to a page on the immigration website that I had seen once before, the “Permanent resident of Norfolk Island Visa”. It’s a permanent visa which is granted to any non-citizen who enters Australia and can show a passport endorsed with proof of their Norfolk Island residency, automatically making you a permanent resident.

Realizing this “loophole” in the laws I quickly made some phone calls to the Island to get a sense of what life would be like for me there. Within two weeks I was on a plane over there. I walked into the Norfolk Island Immigration office on my second day there and filled out & submitted my application, paid the $120 and then waited while it was processed.

However, during its application I became unwell and was forced to leave and return to New Zealand for treatment. I left the island and spent a few years recovering in New Zealand thinking that surely my application would have been declined or lapsed.

In early 2016 I read some updates about how Norfolk Island was losing its autonomy and self-governance and that a “Norfolk Islander” would no longer exist, and neither would the Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island Visa. Sometime later I read a transitional rule which basically stated any person who had Norfolk Island residency at any time, would be transitioned to an 808 Confirmatory Residence Visa. So I rang Norfolk Island Immigration and they confirmed that I was indeed accepted as a resident, and my residency would be in force on 30 June 2016 when the transition would take place.

I wasn’t sure if I had to be physically present on Norfolk Island at midnight on 30 June, and I was ready to fly back there to secure my new visa, but at the last minute immigration emailed me and said it was likely I would just be granted it. I waited a few days and on 4 July 2016 I got an email from immigration stating that I was finally a permanent visa holder in Australia, with a 5-year travel authority. 

Unfortunately since 1 July 2016 this avenue is no longer possible.”