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Where are Australia's new citizens coming from?

Source: AAP

India has emerged as the top source of Australian citizenship, overtaking the United Kingdom, with over 118,000 Indian-born migrants pledging allegiance to Australia since 2013-14.

Indian migrants have emerged as the top source of citizenship by conferral in Australia during the last five years, overtaking the United Kingdom.  

During the five years from 2013 to 2017, over 118,000 people born in India have pledged their allegiance to Australia by becoming Australian citizens.

Indian-born applicants also top the list of visa recipients by country under Australia’s annual permanent immigration program.

Former Citizenship minister Alan Tudge revealed the country-wise break up of the citizenship statistics in the federal parliament earlier this year.  

Of the 54,419 citizenship applications approved as of 28th February 2018, Indian migrants formed the biggest cohort with 10,168 applications of the Indian-born migrants having been approved. 

  • 10,168 - India
  • 9,195   - United Kingdom
  • 2,617   - South Africa
  • 2,399   - Philippines.
  • 1,996   - Australia
  • 1,962   - Sri Lanka
  • 1,731   - Republic of Ireland
  • 1,559   - Peoples Republic of China
  • 1,200   - South Korea
  • 1,193   - Malaysia
  • 20,399 - Other countries

In the year 2016-17, over 22,000 Indians pledged their allegiance to Australia, while 19,617 people from the UK became Australian citizens. 

Citizenship figures presented in the Federal Parliament on 18th June.
SBS Punjabi

Indian-born migrants have been at the top of the citizenship ladder since 2013-14 when 26,040 Indian-born migrants were granted Australian citizenship. UK-born migrants have been at the second position, closely behind India.  

Australian Citizenship conferrals lowest in 15 years

However, the number of Australian citizenship conferrals have plunged a 15-year low in 2017-18 with under 81,000 migrants receiving the Australian citizenship by conferral - the lowest since 2002-03. 

There are also concerns about a mounting backlog of citizenship applications awaiting approval and ballooning waiting times. 


According to the Department of Home Affairs, nearly 245,000 applications were awaiting processing at the end of June this year and the global processing time for citizenship by conferral is now between 17 and 19 months.

The Department attributes the delay in processing to an enhanced focus on "integrity and community safety", an increase in demand for Australian citizenship and an increase in the number of cases requiring "complex identity assessment".

However, the Department said it's taking measure to manage the increased volume of applications and processing times and anticipates a higher number of citizenship applications being processed during the current financial year. 

“The Government has established a 50-person task force within the Department of Home Affairs to deal with highly complex citizenship applications and ensure they are dealt with as efficiently as possible,” Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, David Coleman said.

“An additional 150 staff are also being allocated to focus solely on the processing of applications, with all additional staff expected to be in the role by the end of the year," Mr Coleman added. 

He said these measures have already shown results with improves processing of applications during the first three months of this financial year. 

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