David Coleman, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, warns that only legitimate applications for citizenship would be approved. The warning comes amid increasing application backlog and falling citizenship conferrals.
Australian citizenship is a privilege, says Coleman. It should only be granted only to the ones who support the values of Australia and respect its laws. It should be granted to those who want to contribute towards an even better Australia.
Any behavior which is a threat to Australia’s national security will be a part of the citizenship application process. This would include involvement in organized crime or violence against women and kids. Any conduct that does not comply with Australian values would be considered, said Coleman.
Australian citizenship grants have plunged to a low of 80,652 in 2017-18. The Dept. of Home Affairs attributes the fall to an increased focus on national security measures.
SBS quoted Coleman say that Australia would try to make the citizenship process effective for legitimate applicants. However, applicants who do not meet the character and security requirements would not be conferred citizenship.
The wait time for citizenship applications is currently 17-19 months. As per the Dept. of Home Affairs, 244,765 citizenship applications are still waiting to be processed.
An additional 150 staff would be processing the citizenship applications, added Coleman. Citizenship applications have reached a new high as Australia is a country that many people wish to live in. The Australian Govt. is investing generously to meet this demand. However, the Govt. also needs to ensure that only legitimate applications get through.
33,800 applications have been processed in the first quarter of this year as compared to 18,700 in the first quarter of last year. This has been a result of boosting resources for processing of applications.
Coleman also confirmed that a 50-member taskforce has been set up within the Dept. of Home Affairs. They will be tasked with handling highly complex citizenship applications to ensure that they are efficiently dealt with.
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