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Forging ties with the Pacific Engagement Visa


Australia’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific region is rooted in strong familial, commercial, educational, and touristic ties, crucial for regional peace and prosperity. Recognizing the Indo-Pacific’s developmental progress, Australia is committed to fostering mutual growth and security through collaboration on various issues, including climate change and economic resilience.

Central to this commitment is enhancing people-to-people connections, and encouraging movement between Australia and the region, particularly in business and education. Reflecting this commitment, there will be a direct citzenship stream for New Zealand citizens who have been working and contributing to Australia. Additionally, the introduction of the Subclass 192 – Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) in 2024 will strengthen Australian ties with Pacific and Southeast Asian nations.  These changes demonstrate Australia’s dedication to a shared and prosperous future for a stronger Pacific Family.

 

Direct Citizenship Stream for New Zealand Citizens

Since 1 July 2023, a direct pathway to Australian citizenship was available for onshore New Zealand citizens, as long as they have been a resident for 4 years and meet other eligibility requirements.

Australia and New Zealand share a unique relationship, with numerous New Zealanders opting to work, live, and raise families in Australia. Despite many residing in Australia for decades, these New Zealand citizens often face restricted opportunities to acquire Australian citizenship, along with its associated rights and responsibilities. Consequently, they represent the largest group of long-term temporary residents in Australia. Thus, this change should promote and assist New Zealanders living in Australia, while deepening the ties between both countries.

 

What is the Pacific Engagement Visa?

In revising its migration system, Australia is prioritizing its relationships with the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste. The Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) will be established in the 2024 program year to acknowledge the importance of effective visa arrangements in strengthening connections between Australia and its neighboring countries. This initiative is a response to the Pacific countries’ requests for enhanced visa protocols, aiming to ease business and personal travel. The aim is to create mutually beneficial outcomes for workers, communities, Pacific nations, and Australian businesses.

The PEV will open to 3,000 individuals and their immediate families from selected Pacific nations and Timor-Leste to become permanent residents in Australia annually. Additionally, the government is setting up a support service to assist PEV applicants in finding employment in Australia, providing opportunities for upskilling to better integrate them into the Australian job market:

 

Furthermore, various government benefits and support programs will be available to new visa holders, to assist them in settling in Australia. For example, PEV holders will have access to Medicare, government-funded schools, family tax benefits, education financial assistance programs, and youth allowance. These are subjected to the four-year Newly Arrived Resident Waiting period, similar to other permanent residents. This waiting period applies to income support payments, including the Job Seeker payment.

To kickstart the program, the Australian Government introduced a ballot system on October 19, 2023 for the PEV, offering a fair chance for permanent residency to eligible individuals from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste, regardless of their skill level, gender, or background. The system randomly selects applicants who have met certain criteria, such as age, nationality from a participating country, completion of an online registration with a fee, and possessing a job offer from an Australian employer. This transparent process is designed to ensure equal access to the PEV for all eligible participants.

This PEV will help elevate Australia’s economy, as well as recognise the beneficial cultural, business, and educational exchange within the region.

 

To discuss these changes, or review your eligibility, please get in touch with our expert team at aisupport@absoluteimmigration.com to arrange an online consultation. 

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