40,000 South Asians became Australian citizens last year, many more will this Australia Day

23 JANUARY 2020 I Over 40,000 South Asians became Australian citizens last year while many more prepare to make their citizenship pledge this Australia Day.

Indians, Sri Lankans, Nepalese and Pakistanis were among the top 10 nationalities in 2018-19 to receive Australian citizenship by conferral.

Last year, the Department of Home Affairs conferred Australian citizenship to 28470 Indian, 4861 Sri Lankan, 3360 Pakistani and 3294 Nepalese people. With more than twice the number of UK citizens (13,364), Indians topped the list of people to receive citizenship by conferral.

Last year, over hundred thousand people from diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds gave up their erstwhile nationality to officially embrace this nation as their home. Many of them could have been people facing persecution in their countries of origin while many others would have emigrated to this land of opportunities to ensure their future generations were part of the “Advance Australia Fair”.

Respect for human rights and existence of social equality that are deeply ingrained in the Australian way of life appear to be the main attractions for new Australians.

For Melbourne resident Raj K C, for instance, choosing Australia as the home for his young family was not difficult given how he views this nation. “It is a fair country, there is respect for people from every walk of life. Whether you are some tradie or a doctor, you can be sure that you can enjoy the same level of dignity,” says the father of one who became Australian citizen, along with his wife Indra K C, in March 2019. “Moreover, it’s a beautiful country,” the education consultant further added.

Citizenship Ceremony-southasia.com.au
Melbourne resident Raj K C, his wife Indra K C and their son Brian K C smile for the camera after they made their citizenship pledge in March 2019 I Photo: Supplied

According to the Department, 127,674 people from at least 200 different countries became Australian citizens by conferral in 2018-19. Last year’s figure is a far cry from the 2,493 people representing 35 different nations who were granted Australian citizenship in 1949. Those two thousand odd people were the first lot of migrants to be conferred with Australian citizenship following the introduction of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948.

More than 5 million people from every corner of the planet have become Australian citizens since the Act came into force, Department of Home Affairs statistics show.

Those who wish to become Australian citizens, and have received formal invitation from the government to attend a citizenship ceremony, must do so without fail.

“You will not become an Australian citizen until you have attended your ceremony and made the pledge,” the Department warns. Those who miss their designated citizenship ceremony will automatically receive another invitation either from the local council or from the Department of Home Affairs.

Moreover, the Department of Home Affairs may review and cancel your approval if you do not attend a citizenship ceremony within 12 months of your citizenship application being approved. However, the government “might make an exception if you have an acceptable reason for not attending within that time”.

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