Citizenship Changes – What you need to know!

Published on November 13, 2017

Australian Citizenship – What is actually happening?

There has been a lot of discussion about Citizenship recently, with the suggested changes to the citizenship eligibility and the targeting of ministers in parliament who are dual citizens. It is very confusing to know what is speculative and what is solid fact. We are here to straighten it out for you and help you understand what you need to know.

 

What has happened to the announced changes?

The bill that would introduce the changes to citizenship announced in April 2017 did not get through parliament. This means the changes announced have not come into effect.

 

This bill has been the source of much angst for permanent residents and those intending to stay in Australia indefinitely.

 

They have reintroduced the bill with some amendments proposing citizenship changes to be introduced in July 2018. These have not been passed, and may or may not get through. We will keep you updated as changes occur.

 

Am I eligible to apply for Citizenship?

For Permanent Residents living in Australia and wanting to apply for citizenship, the rules remain as they have been. To apply for Australian Citizenship, you must:

  • Be of good character
  • Intend to reside in or maintain a continuing relationship with Australia
  • Meet the residence requirements:
    • Have lived in Australia on a valid visa for 4 years immediately before applying
    • Have not been absent from Australia for more than 12 months accumulative during the 4 years
    • Have been a Permanent Resident for at least 12 months before applying
    • Have not been absent for more than 90 days in the last 12 months before applying

 

I am eligible for citizenship – what should I do?

If you’re concerned about the new criteria- apply now. If you apply before July 2018 you will be assessed under the current requirements, rather than any potential new requirements.

 

A quick note to remember to check whether your country of passport allows dual citizenship before applying, as you do not want to be surprised when you have to give your old passport up!

 

How long does the process take?

Citizenship applications lodged after the announcement was made in April have been confirmed to be processed under the current criteria (Phew!) which is great news for those that have taken the chance to apply even with all of the uncertainty. Your application should be processing now.

 

Applications are taking a long time to process. Be aware that the current processing times are 10-14 months from lodgement to ceremony. As of last week, there are 143,000 submitted applications and I should think that there will be a whole lot more to come!

 

Be patient, it will be worth it when you are standing in front of your loved ones with a citizenship certificate and a smile from ear to ear.

 

If you do want to apply or check your eligibility, please contact our Migration team on migration@peoplemedical.com.au. We are always happy to answer your questions!

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