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Australia home to most new Kiwis

Australia is still the most common country of birth for people born outside New Zealand to gain citizenship, according to figures released by the Department of Internal Affairs.

Just over 8,000 Aussies became Kiwis in 2019, either because they had a parent who was a citizen or they had migrated to New Zealand.

The United Kingdom came second, with 6,050 new Kiwis; followed by India, with more than 4,600.

General Manager Services and Access at the Department, Jeff Montgomery, said there were various ways people could become citizens.

“The easiest way is to be born here or people can become citizens ‘by descent’ — they have a parent who was born in New Zealand — or ‘by grant’ where they have migrated to New Zealand and applied for citizenship,” Mr Montgomery said.

“In 2019, we gained 44,413 new foreign-born Kiwis, 13,383 by descent and 31,030 by grant and we welcomed 60,000 people who were born here.”

He said the number of people gaining citizenship by grant had fallen over the past few years.

In 2018, 35,737 people gained citizenship by grant and in 2017, 36,450 people.

“The key trend in 2020 will be people applying for citizenship online,” Mr Montgomery said.

“In October, we launched an online application service,” he said.

“It’s currently available to certain adults and we look forward to extending it to most other people soon.”