You gained a visa to work in Australia, you achieved permanent residency, life is treating you well so why bother with the next step; why adopt the country which has all but adopted you? Why become an Australian citizen?
Here are just 10 of many very good reasons in favour of taking that next step:
- Safety in a COVID-affected world
Since early 2020, the world has been changing. The COVID 19 pandemic has ravished many countries and continues as a major threat, even in the most developed nations. As an island continent with stringent border controls, Australia has to date been able to largely control local impact from the global pandemic and continues to offer its population a relatively normal, healthy lifestyle.
- Easy travel, in and out of Australia
Of course, Permanent Residents can stay in Australia for as long as they choose to do so but in order to be able to leave the country and return, that doesn’t preclude them from having to apply for a Resident Return visa, every five years. A Permanent Resident’s right to remain in the country is dependent upon continuing residence and substantial ties to Australia.
Australian citizens however, can leave and return at any time with no difficulty at all. An Australian passport is the key to this freedom.
- Visit up to 170 countries without need for a visa
As an Australian citizen, your Australian passport will allow access into up to 170 countries visa-free or with immediate visa on arrival.
According to the Annual Passport Index, the Australian passport is rated as one of the world’s best for freedom of travel and SmartGate re-entry into Australia is an efficient added bonus.
- Australian consular assistance whilst overseas
If in difficulty whilst overseas, Australian citizens are welcomed to seek help from the local Australian Embassy or High Commission. As fellow ‘Aussies’ these representatives are always happy to assist. They can provide genuine reassurance in cases of accidents or misfortune, as well as;
• Issue replacements or emergency passports (where originals lost or stolen)
• Offer support, should you be hospitalised, have a serious illness or are the victim of crime/assault
• In the case of medical emergency, provide details of local doctors, hospitals etc.
• Provide details of local lawyers and/or interpreters
• Consult with you if you are arrested and in prison, inform your family as required by you
• Offer advice, should a family or loved one die overseas
• In exceptional situations, provide emergency loans
- Your children can become Australian citizens also
Becoming an Australian citizen opens the door for your children, even if born overseas, to become Australian citizens by descent, enjoying the same rights and privileges as any Australian born child.
- Availability of financial assistance for education
Although Permanent Residents are able to enrol in Australian universities as domestic students and enjoy lower fees than international students, only Australian citizens have access to HECS-HELP financial assistance programs.
As the Federal Government’s ‘Higher Education Loan Program’ this initiative allows students to defer their study fees until they are employed and earning enough to begin repaying the debt. It is just one of several programs aimed at educating Australians and available (of course) only to Australian citizens.
- The right to vote – helping to shape Australia’s future
Australia is recognised world-wide for its prosperous, democratic culture and easy-going lifestyle; qualities we treasure as a nation. Australian citizens, over the age of 18 years, have a responsibility to vote in local, state and federal elections; a responsibility we carry with pride, having a voice in the democratic process.
Australian citizens, irrespective of where they were born, can stand for election as a local councillor, state or federal MP; even a senator.
- Opportunity to work in Federal Government and Defence
Whilst permanent residency allows work in Australia, free of general restrictions, it does exclude work in Federal Government sectors, such as defence. The areas that require Australian Citizenship include:
• Australian Federal Police
• Australian Border Force
• Australian Defence Force
• Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- The option to live in New Zealand
Australia has strong and enduring ties with its nearest neighbour, New Zealand, a retrospective friendship which provides freedom for Australian citizens to choose to move permanently to New Zealand; freedom to travel Australia and even, should they wish to do so, across to its nearest neighbour.
Australia is a proud country with a proud legacy. Its people are friendly, easy-going and welcoming, its expansive interiors and magnificent coastlines, literally awe-inspiring.
Becoming an “Aussie” should never be about convenience, but all about aspiration. Let it be a life-changing goal, not solely for you but equally for your family and future generations. Taking Australian citizenship does not denounce the new citizen’s heritage; it welcomes his or her attributes, whilst celebrating a new future together.
Eligibility for Australian Citizenship
If you have been an Australian Permanent Resident for at least twelve months, it’s very possible that you may already be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship. Legislation is rarely static, always subject to change, so it would certainly be worth speaking with one of our skilled Immigration Lawyers or Registered Migration Agents, sooner rather than later.
We are always happy to help.
For more information on this or on any relating issues, contact the friendly team at Sellanes Clark – Lawyers and Immigration Specialists.