More new citizens, including migrants from India, will have the opportunity to become an Australian on Australia Day—our national day
The new Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code will require councils to hold a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day.
It also requires councils to introduce a dress standard for people attending citizenship ceremonies, given the significance of the event. Attendees may still choose to wear national or cultural dress.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said almost 2,600 Indian nationals attended a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day in 2019.
“There is no better day for migrants to make this important commitment to Australia,” Mr Coleman said. “Australian citizenship is at the heart of who we are and what we believe as a nation. The Indian community has made a significant contribution to Australia for centuries and we want as many Indian nationals as possible to receive the privilege of citizenship on 26 January.”
Australia Day is the most popular day for people to attend a citizenship ceremony, with almost 90,000 people becoming Australian citizens on our national day in the past six years.
Following consultation earlier this year, Minister Coleman has written to all councils to advise them of the new Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code.
While most councils already hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, there will be an exception in the Code for small councils that conferred citizenship on less than 20 people in the previous year.
Along with Australia Day, councils are encouraged to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australian Citizenship Day (17 September), and can continue to host citizenship ceremonies on other days throughout the year.
Minister Coleman said the Government was focused on the processing of citizenship applications, and this had led to a large increase in the number of approvals in the 2018-19 program year.
More than 145,000 migrants had their citizenship by conferral applications approved in 2018-19, an increase of 80% on the previous years.
More than 127,000 people were conferred citizenship at more than 2,600 citizenship ceremonies across the country. This includes 28,470 Indian nationals who became Australian citizens.
“I have been working over the past 12 months to ensure citizenship applications are managed as efficiently as possible, while also maintaining the integrity of the program,” Mr Coleman said. “We have invested $9 million into systems and staff, established a taskforce to focus on complex cases, and increased the number of citizenship appointments available for applicants to attend interviews and sit the citizenship test.”
A copy of the Code is available at homeaffairs.gov.au/citizenship/ceremony