Increase in number of people opting for Australian citizenship

by Ray Clancy on September 28, 2012

in Australia Immigration

Australia has a high citizenship take up rate compared to other OECD countries

More people who have moved to Australia to work are interested in becoming Australian citizens, figures suggest.

The latest citizenship snapshot supports that Australia has a high citizenship take up rate compared with other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

‘The high citizenship take-up rate is a mark of the success of the citizenship focused model of Australian multiculturalism,’ said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

‘This number continues to increase as more migrants choose to make their home here and seek to become fully-fledged members of the Australian family,’ he added.

A record 71,662 applicants from more than 196 countries took the citizenship test in 2011/2012, up almost 20% on last year’s figure of 59,787.

‘Becoming a citizen is an important step which shows commitment to our nation and its people. It is important that new Australians understand the pledge they make as new citizens: that Australia is a peaceful nation built on democratic beliefs, rights and liberties, and whose laws they will uphold,’ explained Bowen.

Expats from the UK top the list with 16.6% of those who took the citizenship test followed by India with 13.9%, China with 10.1%, the Philippines with 6.1% and South Africa with 5.1%.

The citizenship test is designed to assess whether new Australians have an adequate knowledge of Australia and understand the responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen. It also assesses whether new citizens have a basic knowledge of the English language so they can play an active role in the country.

The report also shows that there is an increase in participation and pass rates for people from vulnerable backgrounds.

Bowen said that more people from vulnerable backgrounds were expressing interest in acquiring citizenship since the government introduced education pathways for migrants. More than 90% of people in the humanitarian programme passed the test, a rise of 5% since the introduction of courses and tuition for disadvantaged migrants.

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