Kiwis not included in tightened Australian citizenship changes

  • 28/04/2017
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: Qantas 747 flyover seen before the start of the 2015 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix on March 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

PHOTOGRAPH BY Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Bill English has been assured by his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull the citizenship agreement between the two countries won't be affected by rule changes announced in Canberra last week.

Under the agreement, New Zealanders who arrived between February 2001 and February 2006, and earned more than AU$53,000 (NZ$57,500) for five consecutive years, can apply for permanent residence from July this year.

They can then apply for citizenship after a year.

Australia has tightened the rules around citizenship and extended the waiting time, but that won't apply to Kiwis in the agreement category.

A spokeswoman for Mr English said on Friday the two prime ministers had discussed the issue.

"Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed the pathway to citizenship for eligible New Zealanders, announced in February 2016, has not been changed," she said.

"It remains in place and on track, and is separate from the citizenship changes which Australia announced last week."