New Zealand citizens claiming payments in Australia

Residence requirements for Centrelink payments

To qualify for most Centrelink payments, a person has to satisfy residence requirements. Generally, this means that you must be an Australian resident. An Australian resident is a person who is living in Australia and is either:

  • an Australian citizen,
  • a permanent visa holder, or
  • a 'protected' Special Category Visa (SCV) holder.

People who arrive in Australia on a New Zealand passport are generally issued an SCV on arrival. SCV holders who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 are generally considered to be 'non-protected'.

Protected SCV holders are those who arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and:

  • were in Australia on 26 February 2001,
  • were in Australia for 12 months in the two years immediately before this date, or 
  • were assessed as 'protected' before 26 February 2004.

Protected SCV holders qualify as Australian residents and can access the full range of Centrelink payments, provided they are currently living in Australia and satisfy certain rules such as qualification criteria and relevant waiting periods.

Payments that can be claimed if you are a New Zealand citizen

No matter whether you are a protected or non-protected SCV holder, you will still be able to claim these payments or cards as long as you are residing in Australia:

Note: you will have to meet all other requirements to receive these payments or cards. This may include waiting periods for concession cards for newly arrived migrants.

You will also have access to employment services provided through Job Services Australia which includes reasonable access to computers, newspapers and other facilities to help you look for work.

If you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and have lived here for at least ten continuous years since 26 February 2001, you may be able to access a once-only payment of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance or Youth Allowance. If you are eligible, payment can be made for a maximum continuous period of up to six months.

You may be able to claim Age Pension, Disability Support Pension (if you are severely disabled) and Carer Payment (for partners of Disability Support Pensioners) under the International Social Security Agreement between Australia and New Zealand.

Note: under the Agreement with New Zealand, you may need to satisfy special conditions. If you want to claim one of these payments, call us to find out whether you have to satisfy any other requirements.

More information

  • visit your local DHS Service Centre
  • call us on the following numbers:
    • Newstart Allowance 132 850
    • Youth Allowance 132 490
    • Sickness Allowance 132 717
  • From New Zealand call 0800 441 248