By Joy Hay – Registered Migration Agent MARN 1465325
The Australian Government will begin holding citizenship ceremonies via video link, it has been announced.
With 85,000 people currently waiting for a ceremony, and the Covid-19 pandemic making it impossible to go ahead with traditional ceremonies, the Department of Home Affairs will trial video ceremonies for people who have already been approved for Australian citizenship.
It’s expected that up to 750 people per day will have their citizenship conferred over video link once the service is up and running.
Ceremonies are normally held by local councils, but current social distancing rules and crowd restrictions means many were postponed indefinitely.
- Ceremonies will be held one-to-one
- The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 requires applicants to pledge commitment to Australia before a presiding officer
- Citizenship applications are still being accepted, but interviews and tests are on hold
- Once testing and interviews can commence, additional resources will be deployed to manage the backlog
- People who were due to attend a citizenship appointment or ceremony will be contacted individually to make arrangements
- Arrangements can be made for people with no internet access who urgently need to finalise their Australian citizenship
At present, there are over 85,000 people waiting to have their citizenship conferred.
Applications for Australian citizenship have rocketed over the last year. Already in 2019-20, over 157,000 people have been made Australian citizens. This represents an increase of 70% on the same period last year.
Most citizenship ceremonies take place within six months of receiving citizenship approval.
Once you’ve taken part in a video link citizenship ceremony, it’s likely that your certificate will be posted out to you.
You’ll need your certificate when you make an application for an Australian passport. You’ll also need to show your certificate if you ever apply for a job in the Australian Defence Force.
Benefits of Australian citizenship:
- You can vote
- Access education funding
- Become a politician
- Get your Australian passport
- Serve on a jury
- Join the army
- Live in New Zealand
- Hassle-free re-entry at Australian airports
- Consular assistance if you’re overseas
- Apply for federal government and defence jobs
- Travel visa-free to 183 countries
- Additional protection from deportation
- No need for a resident return visa
- Represent Australia at international events
Although there are many benefits to being an Australian permanent resident, there is no doubt that citizenship trumps residency when all things are considered. Completing the final step on your migration journey is definitely something you should consider as soon as you can.