All About Australian Citizenship
More than 200,000 people were granted Australian citizenship in 2019-2020. There are many reasons so many people made the decision to pledge their commitment to Australia by getting their citizenship. Once you hear about the benefits offered by Australian citizenship, you’ll want to know how you can get it. This post tells you exactly how to do that.
Maybe you are at the stage where you are ready to apply for citizenship, or you might need to start with an Australia permanent resident visa. We can assist you at any of these stages on the road to Australian citizenship. So, read on for a brief history of Australian citizenship, learn about the benefits it provides, and find out how you can apply.
A short history of citizenship and celebration
Tuesday 17 September 2019 was a very exciting moment in the history of Australian citizenship. Australia celebrated 70 years of citizenship that day, to remember the very first citizenship ceremony that took place in 1949. People from 7 different nationalities met at the Alberta Hall in Canberra for the first ever ceremony.
Since 1949, more than 5 million people have been granted Australian citizenship. People from the United Kingdom, China, Pakistan, India and other countries all over the world have decided to declare their commitment to Australia and apply for citizenship.
The Australian government created a campaign to celebrate this; they invite people who’ve been granted Australian citizenship to share what it means to them on social media. Thousands of people use #AustralianCitizenship to post about how they feel at finally making the transition from Australia permanent resident to citizen. You will find plenty of stories because after all, for many, this has been a life-changing decision.
Maybe you’ve heard of Ahmed Kelly? He’s a Paralympic swimmer that was proud to represent Australia at the Paralympic games. Kelly, who was born in Baghdad, remembers the day he became an Australian citizen as one of the most special and important days of his life. He was so proud to be an Australian citizen, he competed in the Paralympic games as a way of saying thank you to the country that offered him so many amazing opportunities.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter. His wife, Terri Irwin has a very special story of Australian citizenship. Terri is originally from America. After Steve Irwin’s very sad death, Terri decided to apply for Australian citizenship because she felt such a strong sense of pride, loyalty, and connection to the country her beloved husband was from. Now, Terri is the owner of Australia Zoo, one of Australia’s biggest wildlife facilities located in Brisbane, Queensland. What a wonderful way to honor Steve Irwin and Australia!
Benefits of Australian citizenship
Why have millions of people chosen to become citizens of Australia? The answer to this question lies in the many benefits Australian citizenship provides. They explain why so many people speak positively of it and enjoy sharing their stories of Australian citizenship. Let’s explore some of those benefits below.
Voting is not an option if you are an Australia permanent resident but with citizenship, you can participate in the voting process, and have your say in how Australia runs.
With Australian citizenship, you can vote in federal and state or territory elections. You can also vote in referendums. State or territory elections allow you to help decide who will run individual states such as Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland to name a few. This means you can vote for federal elections and have your say in the political party that gets to govern Australia. You will have influence over the kind of life you and your family will have in Australia.
Australian citizenship expands your employment opportunities. With it, you have access to employment in the Australian Public Service to work in government departments such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Health. You are also eligible to apply for jobs in the Australian Defense Force. You could work for the Australian Navy or even the Air Force if you happen to be a pilot in your home country. With Australian citizenship, you have access to even more job opportunities than with permanent residency and other visa types, which also means access to higher wages and impressive careers.
The Australian real estate market is booming! As a citizen, you can take advantage of this and buy property in Australia. You have more access to home loans with competitive interest rates as a citizen of Australia. Australian citizenship is especially helpful for first home buyers. The Australian government has a range of benefits such as First Homeowner Grants, giving buyers up to $10 000 toward the cost of their first home. This makes the process of buying a house much more accessible.
Education is certainly a major factor immigrants consider when moving to another country. Australian citizenship gives you access to different financial assistance and support if you’re thinking about studying. Not only are you eligible for domestic fees, but you’ll also have access to student loan schemes like HECS-HELP and VET which can go toward the cost of your education. Most of these education loans and assistance programs are not available to Australia permanent residents. Australian citizenship is an important eligibility requirement. The education benefits related to Australian citizenship have helped thousands of people and families who’ve migrated to Australia and they can help you too.
Australian citizenship offers several benefits while travelling. Here are some of the perks citizenship provides:
Australian citizenship means that you’re eligible to apply for an Australian passport. As an Australian passport holder, you’ll be entitled to many benefits such as visa-free travel. The Australian passport is one of the strongest in the world, even during Covid-19. Travel may be restricted at the moment but usually, an Australian passport allows you to enter more than 100 countries visa free. You won’t need to apply for visas and wait for paperwork etc. So, Australian citizenship gives you lots of flexibility and freedom. You can explore different countries without having to deal with visa applications and paperwork.
You have 24/7 support when travelling. As an Australian citizen, you’ll enjoy 24/7 support from The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Their emergency helpline called Consular Emergency Support will help with emergencies, natural disasters, lost passports or any other issues you might experience while travelling. Their support provides an extra level of protection because you know if anything ever happened, the Australian government would support you.
Another advantage is travel to New Zealand. Australian citizens can travel to and work in New Zealand. At the moment, there are some travel restrictions due to Covid-19, but usually Australian citizens can live and work in New Zealand without a visa.
How to get Australian citizenship
With all the benefits mentioned, I know you’re eager to know how to get Australian citizenship. The main ways of getting citizenship include:
Citizenship by descent – if you were born overseas but at least one of your parents is an Australian citizen, and you would like to apply for citizenship, this is the option for you.
Citizenship by conferral or grant – this means you can apply for and get Australian citizenship if you are an Australia permanent resident, and would like to become a citizen.
Citizenship by conferral is the most common way of getting Australian citizenship so here’s more information about it. The path from Australia permanent resident to citizen involves several steps. The first step is to check you meet all the Australian citizenship requirements. Here are the eligibility requirements for citizenship by conferral:
Residence: applicants must have lived in Australia for the last 4 years, and have spent at least 12 months of that time as an Australia permanent resident.
Citizenship test: if you’re applying for Australian citizenship, you’ll need to take a test based on the values, traditions, history, and national symbols of Australia. This test helps you get a better understanding of how to be a citizen of Australia.
Character: applicants for Australian citizenship should be of ‘good character’ and have qualities that show the Australian government you will obey the laws of Australia.
Commitment to Australia: Applicants must plan to continue residing in Australia or maintain close connections to the country.
The next step is to prepare documents that prove things like your identity and residency in Australia. These documents will be included with your application. After you submit your application, you’ll be invited to attend an interview and a citizenship test. The interview and citizenship test will assess things like your level of English and your understanding of Australian values such as freedom, fairness, and respect.
Once your application is finalized, you’ll attend a Citizenship ceremony. The ceremony is the final step in your application for Australian citizenship. At the ceremony, you’ll make a public commitment to accept the rights and privileges of Australia and uphold its values.
Why work with us?
As you can see, there are different factors involved in this process and the team at UIS Australia can prepare you for all of them. Whether you are a new immigrant considering a move to Australia and need to become a permanent resident first, or you need to check your eligibility for sponsorship, your personal immigration consultant will help you prepare everything you need and advise you according to your goals.
Your UIS Australia consultant will go over the application process with you to ensure you know what to expect and how to move forward. We handle it all for you and we will make sure your application has the best chance of being successful.
Contact us today so we can figure out a plan to get you that invitation to an Australian citizenship ceremony!