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Indian couple's Australian citizenship application gets approved in less than 90 days despite backlog

Ramandeep Kaur (Right) and husband Paramjit Singh had their Australian citizenship application approved in less than three months. Source: Supplied by Ramandeep Kaur

Aerospace engineer and PhD scholar Ramandeep Kaur couldn’t believe her luck when she was able to expedite her Australian citizenship process by reading up online. Now a ‘proud Aussie’, this young mother is keen to serve the Australian Defence Force.

Ramandeep Kaur and Paramjit Singh, a young Punjabi couple from Brisbane, lodged an application for Australian citizenship on 18 November 2020. To their surprise, it was approved in less than three months on 15 February.

“We applied in November 2020 with all the requisite documents and got an acceptance letter on 2 February this year. But at the time, the next available date for the citizenship test was in the first week of March, and I didn’t want to wait,” Ms Kaur tells SBS Punjabi.


Highlights:

  • Brisbane-based Indian couple's Australian citizenship application approved in under three months.
  • Ramandeep Kaur rescheduled her appointment for the citizenship test to an earlier date.
  • An aerospace engineer, Ms Kaur aspires to work for the Australian Defence Force.

The 30-year-old says the excitement to become an Australian citizen prompted her to read on the current processing times. Her interest on this subject lead her to an SBS Punjabi article that suggested applicants can try to reschedule an appointment for the citizenship test if it is some months away.

“SBS Punjabi had a major role in speeding up the citizenship process for us. I read in the article that applicants should look out for earlier appointments. As luck would have it, I was able to reschedule our test dates for 3 February, a day after we received an invite from the Department of Home Affairs,” Ms Kaur says.

“Both of us passed the test and are now anxiously waiting for our citizenship ceremony to take the pledge,” she adds.

Australian citizenshyip
Ramandeep Kaur (Right) and husband Paramjit Singh with their daughter.
Supplied by Ms Kaur

Factors that affect citizenship application processing time

While Ms Kaur and her husband got lucky, figures from the Department of Home Affairs show that migrants face long waiting times to become Australian citizens. As of 28 February, the department had more than 155,000 applications on hand.

The department's website indicates that 90 per cent of applications for citizenship (by conferral) are currently being processed in 16 months from the date of application to decision, while 75 per cent are taking 13 months.

Various factors can affect the processing time of an application, such as

  • whether you have lodged a complete application, including all supporting documents
  • how promptly you respond when asked for more information or documents
  • the time it takes to check the information provided
  • the response time for information from other agencies, usually for character and national security requirements
  • for applications for citizenship by conferral, where applicants are required to take the citizenship test, a lot depends upon the department's ability to offer citizenship test appointments in the COVID-19 environment

Giving wings to her dreams

Originally from Kharar, a small town in the northern Indian state of Punjab, Ms Kaur is pursuing a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Queensland.

She says her father encouraged her to follow her dreams, but a math teacher back in school sparked her interest in aerospace, largely considered a male bastion.

“My dad and husband have always stood by me as my pillars of support,” she says.

“But it was my schoolteacher, a retired Indian Air Force officer, who set my curiosity for aerospace engineering in motion. I started studying space, aircraft and rockets. My determination was propelled by space stalwarts like Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams – famous female astronauts of Indian heritage,” she adds.

Citizenship
Ramandeep Kaur with her father.
Supplied by Ms Kaur

Ramandeep's Australia

Ms Kaur is ready to embrace the future as she now feels a step closer to pursuing her passion and working in her area of choice.

“When I came to Australia after completing my undergraduate degree in aerospace from the UK, I was repeatedly told that even though I have the credentials and the skill set, I won’t be able to secure a job in the field until I become an Australian citizen,” she says.

“Every rejection hit me hard. In 2017, I chose to pursue a PhD to utilise the four years I had before applying for citizenship. And now here I am, a proud Indian-Australian,” she adds.

The young mum of a two-year-old says her dream is to work for the Australian Defence Force and serve her new country.

 

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