More resources allocated to reduce citizenship application processing time in Australia

by Ray Clancy on November 15, 2018

in Australia Immigration

It is no secret that the Australian Government wants to make the citizenship process harder to make sure that only those who are committed to life in the country are successful with their application.

But Immigration and Citizenship Minister David Coleman has admitted that some applications are more complex than others, but this does not mean they will automatically take longer.

Australia Citizens

(Markus Mainka/Bigstock.com)

Indeed, he revealed that Government has established a 50-person task force within the Department of Home Affairs to deal with highly complex citizenship applications and ensure they are dealt with as efficiently as possible.

It comes after the number of applications have risen again after falling last year due to changes making the English test harder and an increase in the time living in Australia as a resident before an application can be made. Applications fell to 80,652 in the 2017/2018 financial year, the lowest in 15 years. But Coleman said they have now increased again.

‘Australian citizenship is a privilege and it should be granted to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia,’ Coleman said.

‘Those who choose to become Australian citizens are making a solemn commitment to our democracy, to our way of life. And that commitment, made by five million people over the past 70 years has helped secure and enrich our nation,’ he explained.

‘We will always work to make the system as functional and effective as possible for legitimate applicants. However, we make no apologies for ensuring only those who meet our security and character requirements are given the privilege of Australian citizenship,’ he added.

He also revealed that there are more staff to deal overall with applications to help combat a backlog of over 200,000 applications with some applicants waiting over 18 months for a decision.

According to figures from the Department of Home Affairs, some 244,765 applicants were waiting for their paperwork to be processed at the end of June 2018.

Coleman said that more investment and resources are being allocated for dealing with citizenship applications, including 150 additional staff. He added that 33,800 applications were processed during the first three months of the current financial year compared with the same period in 2017 when it was 18,700.

Despite a drop he pointed out that applications are at a record high. ‘We are a country that many people want to live in and be a part of. We are investing heavily to meet this demand, while also protecting the security and integrity of the system to ensure only legitimate applications are approved,’ said Coleman.

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