The Special Category Visa (Subclass 444) is a temporary visa designed for citizens of New Zealand who wish to live and work in Australia indefinitely. It is granted upon arrival in Australia and allows New Zealand citizens to live and work there, enjoying most of the rights of an Australian citizen.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • New Zealand Citizenship: You must be a citizen of New Zealand.
  • On Arrival Visa: This visa is granted automatically upon arrival in Australia for New Zealand citizens.
  • Character Requirement: You must meet the character requirements set by the Australian immigration authorities.

Application Process:

  • Automatic Grant: The Special Category Visa is granted automatically upon arrival in Australia for New Zealand citizens. There is no need to apply for this visa separately.
  • Airport Procedure: When arriving in Australia, New Zealand citizens are directed to the electronic visa system. The visa is electronically linked to the passport, allowing the holder to live and work in Australia.

Benefits:

  • Indefinite Stay: New Zealand citizens can stay indefinitely in Australia.
  • Work and Study: Holders of this visa can work and study in Australia.
  • Access to Medicare: Special Category Visa holders have access to Australia’s public healthcare system, Medicare.
  • Social Services: While this visa does not grant access to all social services, certain benefits are available.

FAQs:

Q: Can I bring my family members to Australia on a Special Category Visa?
A: Certain family members might be eligible for a Special Category Visa. However, specific rules apply, and it’s best to consult the Australian immigration website for the most accurate information.

Q: Can I apply for Australian citizenship with a Special Category Visa?
A: Special Category Visa holders are generally not eligible for Australian citizenship under this visa category. However, there are other pathways to Australian citizenship that can be explored.

Q: Do Special Category Visa holders have access to social security benefits?
A: Special Category Visa holders might have limited access to some social security benefits, but it’s essential to check the specific eligibility criteria for each benefit.

Q: Can I travel outside Australia with a Special Category Visa?
A: Special Category Visa holders can travel freely to and from Australia. However, if you plan to return to Australia after leaving, ensure your visa remains valid upon re-entry.

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