Australian Citizenship – Application as permanent resident

 

If you are applying for Australian citizenship as a current Australian permanent residency visa holder, then you would be applying under the ‘conferral’ pathway which requires the following steps:

 

Eligibility requirements

 

  • General residence requirement, including holding a permanent residency visa at the time of application and at the time of decision
  • Satisfy the Character requirements
  • Pass the Citizenship test
  • Have a basic knowledge of the English language
  • Intend to reside or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia

 

General residence requirement

 

To satisfy the general residency requirement, you must:

 

  • Lawfully lived in Australia on valid Australian visas for four years immediately before applying; and
  • During these four years, you must not have been absent from Australia for more than 1 year in total; and
  • Must have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application; and
  • During these 12 months as a permanent resident, you must not have been absent from Australia for more than 90 days in total

 

You can use the Department’s online calculation to determine if you satisfy the residency requirement.

 

Exemptions to residence requirement

 

The Minister/Minister’s team has the discretionary power to allow for exemptions to the General residence requirement, if you will be in Australia at the time your application is decided. If you are outside of Australia at the time your application is decided, then your application can only be approved if the discretionary power is applied in your favour under items 5 or 6 below:

 

  1. If you had any unlawfully period in Australia (i.e. you did not hold any visa) as the result of a government administrative error, then that period of time may be treated as lawful time and residence in Australia.
  2. If you were in Australia lawfully, but not as a permanent residency visa holder, as the result of a government administrative error, then that period of time may be treated as time in Australia as a permanent resident.
  3. If you were in Australia lawfully, but not as a permanent residency visa holder, then that period of time may be treated as time in Australia as a permanent resident if you demonstrate that you would suffer significant hardship or disadvantage.
  4. If you were in prison or a psychiatric institution, then that period of time may be counted towards the residence requirement if it would be unreasonable not to do so, taking into account the circumstances that led to your confinement.
  5. While you are lived outside of Australia as a permanent residency visa holder, you have lived with your Australian citizen spouse or partner, or you are the surviving spouse or partner of an Australian citizen. You also need to demonstrate that you have a close and continuing association with Australia during this period that you have lived outside of Australia (generally speaking, you demonstrating close and continuing association with Australia will require you to demonstrate ties and associations with Australia that are beyond just your relationship with your Australian citizen spouse or partner)
  6. While you are lived outside of Australia as a permanent residency visa holder, you have lived with your Australian citizen partner in an interdependent relationship. You also need to demonstrate that you have a close and continuing association with Australia during this period that you have lived outside of Australia (generally speaking, you demonstrating close and continuing association with Australia will require you to demonstrate ties and associations with Australia that are beyond just your relationship with your Australian citizen interdependent partner)

 

There are also other exemptions to the General residence requirement available, under the Special residence requirement:

 

  • You engage in activities that are supported by particular organisations, such as the Australian Olympic and Paralympics committees, Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia etc.
  • You are engaged in particular kinds of work and can provide evidence from an employer that shows you have worked in that occupation for at least a total of two out of the past four years and you were required to travel outside Australia for that work. Examples of such exempted and eligible occupations include a member of the crew of a ship or aircraft, a worker on a resources installation or a sea installation, a Chief Executive Officer or Executive Manager of an S&P/ASX All Australian 200 listed company

 

You cannot claim a special residence requirement in conjunction with exemption claims under Ministerial Discretion 3, 5 or 6. The special residence requirement only applies to primary citizenship applicant in this situation, and extend to exemption your spouse or any other person included in your application for Australian citizenship.

 

The Australian Courts and Tribunals have established several important principles in relation to assessing whether the applicant can satisfy the requirements for citizenship under the Minister’s discretionary powers:

 

  • You would need to personally and individually have close and continuing association with Australia, and connections with Australian community, that is beyond your relationship with your partner.
  • The focus of assessment is on the applicant’s close and continuing association with Australia, connections with Australian community, understanding and connection with Australian culture and way of life.
  • The considerations do not take into consideration why you and your partner need to be outside of Australia, as the legal consideration is close and continuing association with Australia, not why you are outside of Australia. This is the case even if your reasons for being away of Australia are outside of your control and/or compelling.
  • Living overseas with your Australian partner due to work commitments of your Australian partner may not be sufficient if this is your only tie and connection with Australia, even if you have a long term relationship that you can demonstrate: Atkins and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Citizenship) [2017] AATA 1438 (8 September 2017)
  • The considerations do not take into consideration your Australian partner’s ties, connections and benefits to Australia, even if these benefits are significant: ​​Nguyen and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2014] AATA 945 (19 December 2014)

 

Children under 16 years of age

 

Children under 16 years of age do not need to meet the residence requirements but must be permanent residents.

 

General image 6

 

Citizenship Character requirements

 

In order to satisfy the character requirement, any applicant aged 18 years or over must be of ‘good character’, and covers the ‘enduring moral qualities of a person’, and whether they are likely to obey  and follow the laws of Australia, and other commitments made through the citizenship pledge.

 

Your application for citizenship on the basis of conferral may be refused if any of the following character issues apply to yourself:

 

  • You are in prison in Australia, or have proceedings pending against you
  • You have been released from a prison in Australia for less than 2 years after a serious offence, or 10 years if you are a repeat offender
  • You are subject to certain conditions set by an Australian court (such as being released on parole, good behaviour or bail) where action may be taken against you for breach of those conditions
  • You are confined in a psychiatric institution in connection with proceedings for an offence against an Australian law.

 

The Australian Courts and Tribunals have established several important principles in relation to assessing whether the applicant can satisfy the requirements for citizenship under the Minister’s discretionary powers:

 

Kumar and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Citizenship) (2017) AATA (29 June 2017)

 

This Tribunal decision in relation to a Citizenship application refusal was a negative outcome for the visa applicant/appellant due to the following considerations:

  • You need to honestly and completely disclose any and all records of traffic offences, even if these are minor offences
  • If you are providing character witnesses from your family and/or friends, then the Tribunal may contact these witnesses. If the witnesses answers are inconsistent with your own, then the Tribunal may place very little weight on these witnesses statements
  • If you committed an offence recently before your citizenship application lodgement, and you have a history of committing similar offences, then these circumstances and facts may make it difficult to satisfy the ‘good character’ requirement

 

Kerris and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (Citizenship) (2017) AATA 1148 (19 July 2017)

 

This Tribunal decision in relation to a Citizenship application refusal was a negative outcome for the visa applicant/appellant due to the following considerations:

  • Making a false statement on a citizenship application is not necessarily fatal to the application, citing the case of Bilouni v Minister of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs as authority
  • The Tribunal states: It is inconceivable that a Tribunal could make a positive good character finding when an applicant has not completed the terms of a probation order
  • The Tribunal is essentially suggesting that the applicant may be able to apply and satisfy the ‘good character’ requirements in the future, after her probation period has lapsed and she has demonstrated a consistent time period and history of law abiding conduct

 

Citizenship test & practise questions

Source: Department of Home Affairs

 

You do not need to undertake the Citizenship test if:

 

  • You are aged under 18
  • You are aged 60 and over
  • You suffer from a substantial impairment or loss of hearing, speech or sight
  • You can show specialist medical evidence of a permanent or enduring physical mental incapacity which means you are not capable of:
    • understanding the nature of your application
    • demonstrating a basic knowledge of the English language
    • demonstrating an adequate knowledge of Australia and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship
  • You were born to a former Australian citizen
  • You were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 to an Australian citizen born in Australia as currently defined
  • You are stateless and were born in Australia

 

If you are not required to undertake the Citizenship test, then you may be asked by the Department to complete a Citizenship interview with a Department staff member. In this interview, you will be asked questions to confirm that you have a basic knowledge of English and understand the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

 

Australia and its people
1. What do we remember on Anzac Day? a. The landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli, Turkey

b. The arrival of the first free settlers from Great Britain

c. The landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove

2. What are the colours of the Australian Aboriginal Flag? a. Black, red and yellow

b. Green, white and black

c. Blue, white and green

3. Which official symbol of Australia identifies Commonwealth property? a. The national anthem

b. Australia’s national flower

c. Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties
4. Which of these statements about Australia’s system of government is correct? a. The Queen of Australia chooses people to form the Australian Parliament

b. The government is elected by the people

c. The Prime Minister chooses our Members of Parliament

5. Which of these is an example of freedom of speech? a. People can peacefully protest against government decisions

b. Men and women are treated equally in a court of law

c. Australians are free to not follow a religion

6. Which of these statements about government in Australia is correct? a. The government does not allow some religions

b. Government in Australia is secular

c. Religious laws are passed by parliament

7. Which of these is an example of equality in Australia? a. Everyone follows the same religion

b. Men and women have the same rights

c. Everyone belongs to the same political party

8. Which of these is a responsibility of Australian citizens aged 18 years or over? a. To attend local council meetings

b. To vote in elections

c. To have a current Australian passport

9. Which of these is a responsibility of Australian citizens aged 18 years or over? a. To do local community service

b. To carry a passport at all times

c. To serve on a jury if called to do so

10. Which of these statements about passports is correct? a. Australian citizens can apply for an Australian passport

b. Permanent residents can hold an Australian passport

c. Australian citizens need a passport and visa to return to Australia

Government and the law in Australia
11. Which of these statements about voting in Australian elections is correct? a. People are free and safe to vote for any candidate

b. Voting is by a show of hands

c. People must write their name on their vote

12. What happened in Australia on 1 January 1901? a. The Australian Constitution was changed by a referendum

b. The Australian Constitution came into effect

c. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was formed

13. What is the name of the legal document that sets out the rules for the government of Australia? a. The Australian Federation

b. The Australian Commonwealth

c. The Australian Constitution

14. What is a referendum? a. A vote to change the government

b.A vote to change the Australian Constitution

c. A vote to change the Prime Minister

15. Which arm of government has the power to interpret and apply laws? a. Legislative

b. Executive

c. Judicial

16. Which of these is a role of the Governor-General? a. The appointment of state premiers

b. The signing of Bills passed by the Australian Parliament

c. The appointment of the Head of State

17. Which of these statements about state governments is correct? a. All states have the same constitution

b. Each state has its own constitution

c. The states have no constitution

18. What is the name given to the party or coalition of parties with the second largest number of members in the House of Representatives? a. The Government

b. The Opposition

c. The Senate

19. What is the name of a proposal to make a law in parliament? a. Royal Assent

b. Bill

c. Debate

20. Who maintains peace and order in Australia? a. Public servants

b. Police

c. Lawyers

 

 

Categories: Citizenship

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