Getting into Australia from New Zealand is not as easy as you think

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Are you a New Zealander looking to come to Australia? Did you know that entry to the country may not be as straightforward as you think?

In the video below, Richard explains how some travellers from New Zealand can trip themselves up. The full text of the video is below.

Video Transcript

Hi, it’s Richard Timpson here and I’m the principal of Richard Timpson Solicitors. I’m making this video this evening with the view to talking about something which is very much a relevant consideration for anyone that’s thinking of travelling from New Zealand to Australia. And that is the question of whether you’re entitled to actually come here in the first place.

You might sort of fall off your seat and say, “Well, hang on. I don’t even need a visa to come here.”

Well, my response to that is: That’s not actually correct.

What I shall say in your defense is that New Zealand is one of those few countries that is able to access Australia through effective visa-on-arrival arrangements.

So, you’ll know what that means in terms of if you’ve been to Indonesia. Bali, for example, you can get a visa in most cases when you arrive at the airport. In sort of 99% of the time, when you’re travelling to Australia, the Migration Act says that you can’t actually even get on a plane at the other side without having a visa.

So New Zealanders have a little bit of a dispensation. That’s one of the few areas where they are given a little bit of leeway. They can get on the plane in Wellington, for example, and arrive in Sydney Airport without having a visa.

Now, the difficulty is whether or not they’re actually going to clear immigration clearance. And that will depend on a number of things. So if you arrive in Sydney Airport, for example, and have a New Zealand passport, it’s not a foregone conclusion that you’re going to make it through.

The one true and constant thing that I’ve seen with New Zealanders over the years is that many of them have been coming in and out of the country in circumstances where they’re completing landing cards. There are issues with respect to the answers that have been provided on those landing cards.

And what I’m talking about specifically is the question of character.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all New Zealanders coming in have that problem – but there’s certainly a few. An example is if you’re a New Zealander and you are defined as being a behaviour-concerned non-citizen.

What does that mean?

Well, that’s a legal definition in Section 5 of the Migration Act of 1958. And what it says is that if you’ve been sentenced to a term of imprisonment in New Zealand, for example, you’re a behaviour-concerned non-citizen.

If you’re capable of being captured by the definition, that’s it. You cannot get a TY444. So we have to look at other options for you.

You can’t just sit on a plane between beers or whatever and answer No to the question of character. You may get through immigration clearance, but the problem will catch up with you in due course. The Migration Act specifically prohibits the provision of incorrect information on a landing card, for example.

An example

So, to give you an example where it can go wrong, we’ve worked with clients over the years that have come in and out over two decades. They have consistently answered No to a question concerning character – whereas in fact the answer was Yes.

It eventually caught up with them in terms of some offending history, thus, landing them in trouble in this country.

And then that crystallized their situation with the Department (of Immigration) here.

Then, the Department went to  counsel even though they weren’t entitled to counsel under usual character grounds. They sought to do so on the basis that previous incorrect information was provided.

Now, we dealt with that situation. We were able to extract them (our clients) from it.

But what I would say to you is that if you were thinking of coming to Australia, or perhaps you’ve been here for a number of years and you were affected by what I’ve been talking about, it’s really important to get advice.

There may be solutions for you in terms of coming here or remaining here under a different visa. Or, in terms of dealing with the Department with respect to your previous declarations.

About Richard

My name is Richard Timpson. I’m a lawyer. I’m also an accredited specialist in immigration law. You can contact me on (07) 4957 4922. You can email me here »

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