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Australia relaxes citizenship requirements for some permanent residents

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. Source: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

"Exceptional people must not be prevented from becoming Australians."

Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has announced additional flexibility in granting citizenship to talent visa holders and athletes in the Australian Commonwealth Games teams.

This flexibility also applies to ships' crew, senior business people, research scientists, and distinguished artists.


Highlights:

  • The special residence requirement reduces the number of days a resident must live in Australia
  • It applies to past, present and future distinguished talent stream visa holders
  • Such applicants will have to live in the country for at least 480 days instead of three years

Minister Hawke said Australian citizenship is a rare privilege.

"The unique work and travel demands on some of our most highly distinguished prospective Australians should not preclude them from making the cut. That’s why I have directed the Department of Home Affairs to apply greater flexibility in applying the residence requirement for eligible people,” Minister Hawke said in a statement.

"Exceptional people must not be prevented from becoming Australians because of the unique demands of the very work they do that makes them exceptional," he added.

The special residence requirement reduces the number of days a permanent resident must live in the country in the last four years to gain citizenship. Such applicants will have to live in the country for at least 480 days instead of three years.

"Currently, the special residence requirement may apply for a range of applicants who due to their work undertake significant international travel and where it is in the Australian national interest including Australian representative sportspeople, ships’ crew, senior business people, research scientists, and distinguished artists," the statement said.

Ahmad Tabish
Indian national Ahmad Tabish was one of the youngest PhD researchers to be granted the permanent residency visa under the Global Talent Independent Program.
Supplied by Ahmad Tabish


Ahmad Tabish, an Indian national who was handpicked for the Global Talent Independent Program in July last year, has welcomed the move.

"This will encourage all distinguished visa holders to contribute more efficiently in their respective target sectors, which often involves undertaking overseas official visits for Australian national interest," Mr Tabish told SBS Hindi.

Mr Tabish said researchers regularly travel to overseas universities and research centres for work, seminars and conferences.

"This move will immensely contribute towards increased productivity in the target sectors and growth of the Australian economy," he said.

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