The Australian Defence Force only allows permanent residents of Australia to serve in its army, but now some New Zealanders have found a way around this law in the form of a small loophole that may prove very important in letting Kiwis get accepted for trials to serve with the organisation.
Most New Zealanders who live in Australia have in the past been unable to join the Australian Defence Force because of their requirement for new members to be citizens or permanent residents. However, some are now able to take advantage of a loophole where people who lived in Australia before 1994 were allowed to be granted Return Resident Visas. With the acquisition of this visa, some Kiwis were able to gain the permanent residence in Australia they needed to apply to be part of the ADF.
A Move in the Right Direction
The 700,000 New Zealanders living in Australia are viewing this little win for them as a move in the right direction in their petition for full equity. Many New Zealand citizens have lived in Australia for years and grown up there, and feel that they should have the right to serve in the military of the country they consider to be home.
The ADF are still standing strong in their rule that one must be a citizen or permanent resident to serve in the Australian military, but many Kiwis see the Return Resident Visas as a sign of hope. So many have wanted to serve their new country in the past and have been disallowed, and these Australian Kiwis hope that more moves will be made in the future to allow them to serve in Australia.
Eligibility for Permanent Residency Halted
New Zealanders who arrived in Australia after 2001 were faced with a change in the law that stopped them being eligible for permanent residency in Australia and the benefits that come with that residency, mainly being social security, other support services, and of course, the eligibility to enlist in the Australian military.
And this law is considered to be unfair by many. Kiwis wishing to serve in the Australian armed forces are bothered by Australia still celebrating ANZAC day, a commemoration to fallen soldiers from the Australia New Zealand Army Corps, but then on the other hand, creating laws that prevents New Zealanders from standing with Australians in the military there.
For now though, the small victory of Return Resident Visas looks to be the only change on the horizon for Kiwis who wish to serve in Australia.