As some non-resident Bush Islanders will be returning to New Zealand in December, they will be receiving a government run information campaign to tell them what to expect – from traffic, to customs and border controls.
Australia today announced that it will, “further facilitate the return of British and New Zealand citizens to New Zealand by providing them with relevant information and advice.”
The government says some holders of Australian visas will be allowed back in December as they are eligible to renew their visas, while others may be assisted to travel to New Zealand over the next couple of months.
According to the United Kingdom (UK) Home Office, the affected visas include those obtained by those traveling on student, working or tourist visas.
The announcement means that some members of the New Zealand Parliament, who aren’t currently in New Zealand, will be heading back to parliament in Wellington on 6 September.
This is not the first time that Australian authorities have allowed UK citizens to enter Australia over what is termed an “inter-residence transit visa” arrangement – in 2009, around 180 UK citizens received travel permits to Australia – and those travellers never lost their visas.
Government data show that 74,582 UK nationals came to Australia in the month of April alone, many from countries such as the UK, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, India, Pakistan, China, USA, and Italy.
More than 800,000 UK citizens travelled to Australia in 2016.
The announcement came just after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave assurances that 400 Kiwis who had been in Australia for work and study would be allowed to return home, once their visas expired.
Mr Ardern had taken a harsh stand in 2016 after two NZ men were detained by Australian authorities for almost 10 hours on charges of being on an island illegally, and demanding permission to fly home.
Although they had presented valid visa documents, they had been held by authorities as they arrived on the NSW Mid North Coast to return to Auckland from Canberra.
“The Australian Government should only make deportation decisions where there is no real and genuine chance that a New Zealander could be prosecuted for their crimes in Australia,” Mr Ardern said at the time.