Changes in Immigration Law in Australia: Starting on July 1, 2023, the New Zealand-only Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa stream will be permanently closed to new applicants.

At this time, the officials are no longer accepting applications for the New Zealand preference category of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa. On July 1, 2023, the New Zealand stream will no longer accept applications from applicants.

So, how exactly does this new immigration law play out?

You can no longer submit a fresh application for a New Zealand route since this opening is now closed. This is in favour of the recently implemented simplified process for New Zealanders to get Australian citizenship. Applications already received will be processed by the Department of Home Affairs.

Eligible New Zealand residents in Australia will be able to apply for Australian citizenship directly beginning on July 1, 2023. They won’t require a special visa for permanent residents.

What happens to pending applications?

If any of your immediate family members are in possession of a Special Category visa (subclass 444), you may withdraw your New Zealand stream application. If they choose to take advantage of the new direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand nationals, they will have until July 1, 2023, to submit an application for conferral.

The citizenship application fee

The cost of applying for citizenship is less than that of applying for a second visa. For visas via the New Zealand stream, the second visa application fee is due before the visa is issued.

Those applying should consider:

  • Their specific circumstances
  • During the process of becoming citizens, applicants would stay as temporary residents.
  • The benefits of permanent residence
  • Application processing times for citizenship

Visit the Department’s website to learn more about visa possibilities for sponsoring your family members if you are a New Zealand citizen who obtains Australian citizenship through the new direct route. Partner and kid visas are two possible pathways to permanent residency in Australia.

Applications for New Zealand visas that are in the “stream” by December 10, 2022

The government has declared that it will suspend the New Zealand application stream on December 10, 2022. Applications submitted to the Department of Home Affairs before December 10, 2022, will be processed in full.

Applications for the New Zealand Stream that are submitted before December 10, 2022, will allow applicants to include their spouses and children.

Withdrawing your application

The ImmiAccount allows New Zealand visa applicants to withdraw their applications at any time. Visa application fees paid in advance for the New Zealand stream are non-refundable.

If you submitted your visa application online, you may cancel it in ImmiAccount at any time before you hear back from immigration authorities.

Before authorities make a decision on your application for citizenship, you have the right to withdraw it or have it withdrawn on your behalf.

To learn more about cancelling your visa application, click here.


Citizens of New Zealand who have been granted a skilled independent (subclass 189) visa via the New Zealand stream will not be eligible for a refund of their visa application fee. Their New Zealand-born family members are included in this.

We hope that this update on changes in immigration law in Australia will help you plan your future applications accordingly.