Through a September media release the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke MP has announced reduced citizenship residence requirements for talented prospective Australians. These reforms seek to recognise the unique difficulties faced by these distinguished applicants and to extend the opportunity for Australian citizenship through new concessions.
The general residence conditions that must be met to apply for Australian citizenship are as follows:
- Have lived in Australia for the last 4 years on an eligible visa including at least the 12 months as a permanent resident; and
- During the last 4 years have not spent more than 12 months outside of Australia including not more than 3 months in the last 12 months.
The new residency concession allows distinguished talent visa holders (124/858 visas) and athletes in the Australian Commonwealth Games team to apply for citizenship where:
- They have held a valid Australian visa for the last four years; and
- Have lived in Australia for at least 480 days during this period;
- Have been a permanent resident for at least 120 days in the year immediately before applying; and been in Australia during this period
The residency concession has been introduced to allow for citizenship applicants to undertake significant travel and not prejudice their ability to meet citizenship eligibility requirements. Visa holders on distinguished talent visa or those athletes invited to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games should consider whether they can benefit from these relaxed citizenship requirements.
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