The Australian government is all set to offer the Australian citizenship to thousands of Kiwis who entered the nation after the tightening of immigration rules in 2001.

The announcement came following a long meeting between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his New Zealand counterpart John Key held in Sydney. The decision will be applicable for Kiwis who have been living or working in Australia for at least five years with at least an earning worth $53,000. The announcement will not cover those who do not qualify for citizenship.

The usual health and security checks of the immigration system will be considered as far as Kiwis qualifying for citizenship is concerned. However, the move has been initiated only for Kiwis living in Australia at the moment. It is not applicable to those who will come and settle in Australia in the future. It is speculated, however, that the policy may allow around 60,000 to 100,000 Kiwis out of the 300,000 who entered the nation since 2001 to enjoy full citizenship rights in the nation.

According to the Stuff NZ, the Aussie prime minister mentioned the matter as an important ones for “our good friends” living across Tasman. Through this, a new and easier pathway will be provided for New Zealanders to gain Aussie citizenship. Turnbull confirmed that the new rule will be applicable only for thise “who have resided here for five years or more and during the time have earned income in excess of the temporary skills migration threshold.”

On the other hand, the NZ prime minister showed his gratitude for Turnbull as he took this decision that made citizenship accessible to the Kiwis. Key added that Turnbull will never regret on the decision made in the matter as the Kiwis will turn out to be “great citizens, great Australians. We will both want to claim them.”

NZ Herald reported that the changes in 2001 took away several kinds of benefits from Kiwis who entered into the nation on a Special Category Visa. The most difficult decision, taken, however, was the harder rules for them to access Australian citizenship, which has now been resolved with Turnbull’s latest move in the matter.