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Moving to Australia from New Zealand

Image of man closing his eyes and smiling as his young daughter applies sunscreen to his face

Whether it’s for work, study, or a new chapter in your life, there are some essential aspects to consider before making the move across the ditch.

10 key tips for moving to Australia from New Zealand 

  • Starting a new life in Australia is exciting! Moving to any new country can be daunting, but reciprocal agreements between Australia and New Zealand make it a relatively smooth and straightforward process

  • New Zealanders are moving to Australia at pre-Covid levels. If you're planning on moving to Australia, you'll need to consider tax obligations, superannuation, and retirement planning

  • Opening an everyday (or transaction) bank account in Australia can be a quick and simple endeavour, thanks to Westpac's Choice account.

Ease of living in Australia 

The word’s out. Australia’s liveable cities and stunning beaches, along with higher incomes, tax advantages (particularly for low- to middle-income earners) and ample job opportunities – as well as new rules for citizenship – are now attracting New Zealanders in similar numbers to pre-Covid times.


According to Stats NZ, almost 34,000 New Zealanders moved to Australia in 2022.


For Kiwis who want to make a move across the pond, reciprocal international agreements between the two countries (starting with the Trans-Tasman travel arrangement in 1973)

make the experience comparatively smooth. You can even bring the dog – no Australian post entry quarantine required! 

Visa requirements for New Zealand citizens

Most New Zealand citizens with a valid New Zealand passport can visit, live and work in Australia without applying for a tourist or work visa. New Zealand permanent residents need to apply for visas to Australia. 


On arrival in Australia, New Zealand citizens can apply for a temporary Special Category (Subclass 444) visa (SCV). Applications will be processed at the airport or seaport, and the cost is free.


With this visa, you can enter and stay in Australia for as long as you are an NZ citizen, you can visit, work and study in Australia, and you can apply for a permanent visa if eligible. 


It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this is a temporary unprotected visa. That means New Zealanders on this visa aren’t entitled to many welfare or student allowances or access to student loans. 

2. New pathways to Australian citizenship 

From 1 July 2023, NZ citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more became eligible to apply to become an Australian citizen. There’s no need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa.


These changes apply to NZ citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001.

3. Employment opportunities and considerations in Australia 

One of the great advantages of moving from New Zealand to Australia is that you can start working as soon as you arrive.


Job hunting can begin even before you land in Australia, with websites like and LinkedIn offering a wealth of job listings and opportunities to connect with potential employers.


Be aware, though, that different qualification or accreditation requirements may apply for similar roles in Australia from those needed in New Zealand. If you’re keen to continue working in the same field, it's crucial to check whether you’ll need further qualifications or accreditations to do the same role in Australia.

4. Tax obligations and the need for an Australian Tax File Number

While New Zealand has the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), Australia has its own taxation system managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). In most cases, if you're working in Australia, you'll be required to pay income tax.


To ensure compliance with Australian tax laws, obtaining a Tax File Number (TFN) is an essential step. Without a TFN, your income could be taxed at the top marginal tax rate, so it's important to apply for one.


You’ll also be asked for a TFN to open an Australian bank account, file a tax return, or when dealing with finance or government institutions.


It is free to apply for a TFN, and you can apply online using Individual Auto Registration (IAR).

5. Superannuation and retirement planning 

Superannuation is a long-term investment designed to fund your retirement.


In most Australian jobs, your employer is required to contribute a percentage of your salary to your superannuation account. However, you can generally access your superannuation funds only when you reach retirement age or leave the country permanently.


If you're only planning to move to Australia temporarily, you may want to explore the process of claiming your superannuation when you leave the country by visiting the ATO website for more information.


Also, if you’ve retired and are receiving a NZ Super pension, make sure you find out before you make the decision to move whether you’ll be eligible for an equivalent payment when you’re in Australia.

6. Reciprocal healthcare agreement 

The reciprocal healthcare agreement between Australia and New Zealand ensures that New Zealanders in Australia have access to subsidised medical treatment and healthcare through the Australian public health system known as Medicare.


This public health insurance coverage extends to medically necessary healthcare as a public patient in a public hospital. It's a valuable benefit that can provide peace of mind when it comes to healthcare costs.

7. Social services payments and concessions 

If you live in Australia and you are a protected SCV holder, you can claim any Centrelink payment or concession card.


Centrelink – part of Services Australia – delivers income payments, social services payments and other payments to Australians. You’re generally a protected SCV holder if you arrived in Australia from New Zealand as a New Zealand citizen and were either:

  • In Australia on 26 February 2001

  • In Australia for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before this date

  • Assessed as a protected SCV holder before 26 February 2004 


You’re generally a non-protected SCV holder if you’re a New Zealand citizen who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001. This means you’re not an Australian resident and generally cannot claim income support payments. However, you may be able to claim:

  • Family Tax Benefit

  • Newborn upfront payment and newborn supplement

  • Single income family supplement

  • Childcare subsidy

  • Double orphan pension

  • Healthcare card 

8. New Zealand student loans

For New Zealand citizens with an outstanding New Zealand student loan, it’s important to note that you’ll still be required to make regular loan repayments while you’re in Australia. The interest rates for your student loans may be different from what you’re accustomed to in New Zealand.


Make sure you check with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), so you stay informed about your student loan obligations. 

9. Moving from NZ to Australia and opening a bank account 

Opening an Australian bank account will likel be one of the first things you do after moving from NZ to Australia.


The good news is that this is a simple, straightforward process. You can open up an everyday (also known as a transaction) bank account online with Westpac and transfer money immediately into your new account.


With a Westpac Choice transaction account, the account-keeping fee is waived if you open your account within 12 months of your arrival. There are no account keeping fees for full time students or those under 30, no withdrawal fees at most major bank ATMs in Australia, and you’ll get a debit card to access your cash, shop securely online, and tap and go (on purchases under $100).


You can also link your transaction account to an online savings account such as Westpac eSaver to help reach your savings goals faster.


Once you’ve applied online, you’ll then need to verify your ID in one of our local branches before you start using your new account.

10. Money transfers 

If you’ve moved to Australia from New Zealand and you’re planning to send money back home, you could benefit from Westpac’s fee-free foreign currency transfer service. This is available through online banking and the Westpac App, which also lets you check indicative foreign exchange rates on our currency converter. 

To sum up

If you’ve already decided to join the thousands of other New Zealanders making the move to Australia from New Zealand, congratulations! With new pathways to Australian citizenship, employment opportunities, reciprocal healthcare benefits, and straight-forward banking options, it’s never been a better time to make the move across the Tasman.

Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.