Announcing a hike in the citizenship by conferral fee, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said that the revised amount is commensurate with inflation, staffing costs and the increased complexity of applications. Migration experts say this may result in faster processing.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the Department of Home Affairs will update citizenship application fees to reflect the cost of delivering the program more accurately.
As per the change, the standard citizenship by conferral application fee will be raised from $285 to $490.
- Australian citizenship by conferral application fee to increase from 1 July
- Fee amount will change from $285 to $490
- First change in citizenship application fees since 2016: Immigration Minister Alex Hawke
“The new fees are commensurate with the comprehensive approach to end-to-end processing of citizenship applications and reflect inflation costs, staffing costs and the increased complexity of applications, which take longer to process,” Mr Hawke said in a press release on 24 June.
Justifying the change, Mr Hawke said this is the first hike in the Australian citizenship application fees since 2016 and has been determined by factors including citizenship application processes and costs.
“Based on existing fees, the Government is only recovering approximately 50 per cent of the costs of processing citizenship applications,” the minister said.
Adelaide-based migration agent Mark Glazbrook says the hike, though significant, would also mean that citizenship applications will now be processed faster.
“A lot of people that have gone through the visa application process, if it’s a spouse visa, they have paid over $7000 in visa application charges. International students, of course, pay almost up to $100,000 to get a qualification and live in Australia.
“I think an additional $200 towards citizenship application shouldn’t deter too many people. The government is calling this measure a ‘cost recovery’ process, and with this increase, we are going to see quicker processing that would be certainly one benefit,” he said.
In the last financial year, Indians emerged as the biggest source of new citizens, followed by people from the United Kingdom, China, the Philippines and Pakistan. A total of 204,817 people were conferred Australian citizenship, out of which 38,209 were Indian nationals.
Indian migrant Simreet Thukral, who became eligible to apply for citizenship in April 2020, says she has waited to get an Australian passport for over four years, and a "mere $200 hike” in the application fees cannot deter her from fulfilling her Australian dream.
“For me, a hike of $200 wouldn’t make a significant difference. I'm happy to pay, knowing that my application would be processed faster. I am right now in the process of collecting all my documents,” the 32-year-old says.
Ms Thukral, who is keen to pursue higher studies, says the benefits of becoming an Australian citizen outweigh the cost she would have to incur to get through the process.
“An Australian passport means more security, hassle-free overseas travel to many countries including India, and most importantly, I can get access to HECS-HELP, which would mean reduced fees for my advances studies,” she added.
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