New Zealand is a country located in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. The nation is composed of two primary landmasses, the North Island and the South Island, along with more than 700 smaller islands. New Zealand is the sixth-largest island country in the world and is situated approximately 2,000 km east of Australia, separated by the Tasman Sea, and roughly 1,000 km south of neighboring islands including New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.
Australia on the other hand, is a sovereign country that is comprised of the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and a number of smaller islands. As the largest country by area in Oceania and the world’s sixth-largest country, Australia has a fascinating geography and geology that make it a unique place.
In a major policy shift reported by Reuters, the Australian government has announced a direct pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders living in the country. Effective from July, New Zealand citizens who have lived in Australia for at least four years will be able to apply for citizenship without first having to become permanent residents.
The new reforms also mean that children born in Australia to an Australian-based New Zealand parent since July will be entitled to Australian citizenship automatically. The policy change has been welcomed by many who have long campaigned for more equal rights for New Zealanders living in Australia. It is reported that around 670,000 New Zealand citizens live in Australia, while approximately 70,000 Australians live in New Zealand.
To the disappointment of other migrant groups, the Australian government has made it clear that the new citizenship policy is exclusively for New Zealanders. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil emphasized that it was a “special arrangement” between the two countries, which reflected the strong friendship and bond they share.