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Latest on citizenship       started by verp on 13 Dec 2006   (10727)
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From verp

13 Dec 2006 12:40 AM
Taken from the government website on changes taking effect on criteria an individual will have to meet to apply for citizenship. Remember, not law yet........ Just posted for information! What are the proposed residence requirements for Australian citizenship? The proposed residence requirements for Australian citizenship will mean that applicants will need: four years lawful residence in Australia immediately prior to making an application for Australian citizenship with at least 12 months as a permanent resident, and absences from Australia of no more than 12 months in total in the four years prior to application, and no more than three months in the 12 month permanent residency period prior to application. When will the proposed residence requirements come into effect? The Government has moved amendments to the Australian Citizenship Bill 2005. Commencement of the legislation is subject to passage through the Parliament. Consideration by the Parliament of the proposed changes to citizenship legislation currently before it is not now expected to be completed until at least the Autumn Sittings in 2007. Accordingly it is not expected that the new Act will come into effect before 1 July 2007. Will they affect current permanent residents? The proposed residence requirements would only apply to people who become permanent residents on or after commencement of the legislation. People who are permanent residents before the commencement of the new legislation would only need to meet the current residence requirements (presence in Australia as a permanent resident for periods amounting to two years in the last five years including one year in the last two immediately prior to making the application) provided they applied within three years from the day the legislation commences. What are the current residence requirements? At the moment, the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 provides, that for applicants to be eligible for Australian citizenship, they need to have spent a minimum of two years permanent residence in Australia in the last five years, including at least 12 months in the last two years. What effect will the proposed residence requirements have on people who apply before the legislation is changed? Permanent residents who apply for Australian citizenship before the legislation is changed would need to meet the current residence requirements. Will travel overseas affect eligibility under the proposed requirements? Absences of up to 12 months during that four year period will be allowed, with no more than 3 months in the year before making the application. What effect will the proposed residence requirements have on temporary residents? The proposed changes recognise time spent in Australia as temporary residents prior to the acquisition of permanent residence. Up to three years of temporary residence could count towards the four year residence requirement for citizenship. In other words, people who became permanent residents after the changes commence and had been living in Australia on temporary visas immediately before becoming a permanent resident would be able to have up to 3 years of the time spent as holders of temporary visas counted towards the 4 year residence requirement. They would need to have a minimum of one year as a permanent resident. Why is the Government changing the residence requirements? Australian citizenship is a privilege not a right. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, has stated that the Government is focused on ensuring that citizenship applicants have spent a reasonable period of time living in Australia so that they are familiar with the Australian way of life, and appreciate the commitment that they are required to make to become citizens. The proposed requirements also recognise the changes in the migration programme over the years which have resulted in an increasing number of people spending significant periods of time in Australia as temporary residents prior to becoming permanent residents. Are the proposed residence requirements similar to those in other countries? Yes. The United Kingdom requires five years lawful residence with no more than 450 days absence during that time. The United States requires five years permanent residence with absences of up to six months each year. Canada requires three years of permanent residence.