New Zealanders To Become Aussie Citizens More Easily After Turnbull And Key Announce Deal

19/02/2016 3:42 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (R) and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (L) hold a joint press conference in Sydney on February 19, 2016. The leaders are participating in the Australia-New Zealand Leaders' Meeting 2016. AFP PHOTO / Peter PARKS / AFP / PETER PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

New Zealanders living in Australia for five years or more will gain access to Australian citizenship much more easily after Malcolm Turnbull and New Zealand's John Key announced a new deal on Friday.

The two prime ministers announced the citizenship deal in Sydney on Friday morning, telling reporters the move will allow New Zealanders working in Australia -- under the main skilled migration visa -- apply for citizenship much more easily.

The applicants will need to be earning in excess of the temporary skills migration income of approximately $54,000 per year.

“This step today will help tens of thousands of those New Zealanders to one day potentially become Australian citizens,” Mr Key told reporters.

“We’ve made it crystal-clear that people who are deported can pursue their appeals from New Zealand, so they are not prejudiced in their appeal by being back in New Zealand,” Mr Turnbull said.

“I think this is a very important recognition of the very close ties between Australia and New Zealand."

While Key said the New Zealand government's offer to accept some asylum seekers from Australia was still on the table, Turnbull rejected the offer on the coalition's long-running stance it will encourage people smuggling.

But the pair appear to be kindred spirits, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting the Turnbulls will host Key, and his wife Bronagh, at their Point Piper mansion on Friday night. The couples will reportedly enjoy a morning of kayaking and lunch at a local cafe on Saturday.

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