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Rich or poor - Future Australians all set to pay the same flat citizenship fee

Source: AAP

From July 1, disadvantaged pensioners will no longer receive a discount when applying for Australian citizenship. The discount was removed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Australia is arguably the world's most welcoming nation. Some 6.5 million people have migrated to Australia since 1945 - a huge number, given the population still only stands at 25 million.

While most permanent residents pay a $285 fee when they apply to become Australian citizens, disadvantaged pensioners, veterans and widows who receive Centrelink payments, have long been granted a concession rate of $20 or $40.

This is set to end on July 1, courtesy of the Turnbull Government and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Peter Dutton
Australiens Innen- und Heimatschutzminister Peter Dutton

However, the new rules are now facing some stiff opposition. The Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA) is spearheading a move to have the changes reversed on the floor of parliament.

Chairwoman Mary Patetsos says the removal of the discount makes no sense:

"It puzzles me why you would want to create a hurdle that makes a resident who is entitled to claim for citizenship choose between paying their bills and applying for citizenship."

The changes will also capture those applying for citizenship a second time, who will now have to pay the full fare with each application. They are part of the Government's cost-recovery policies.

The Department of Home Affairs says Australia's citizenship fees are  "internationally competitive" and among the lowest in the OECD countries, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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