Accelerated Citizenship for Families of Lateral Recruits Welcomed by the Government
September 20, 2012 – The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, has welcomed the federal government’s amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 which benefits Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.
The Gillard Government had recently amended the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, now enabling for the fast-tracking of Australian citizenship applications for certain family members of overseas lateral recruits to the ADF.
So now, family members of current and future lateral recruits to the ADF will now be eligible for conferral of Australian citizenship at the same time as the lateral recruit. These lateral recruits are soldiers from other defense forces, such as the UK or New Zealand, who will fill the roles within the ADF that cannot be filled by Australians for whatever reason. The recruitment of those that already have the specialized skills needed ultimately saves time and money.
To qualify for this accelerated scheme, the overseas lateral recruit is required to be granted a certain Australia visa issued after July 1, 2007 and have served for 90 days or more in either the full time or reserve forces of the Army, Navy or Air Force.
Minister Bowen states, “The government recognizes that families who support ADF members serving Australia should be able to build a close and continuing relationship with Australia at the same time as their serving family members.” For this reason, the Minister added, the Australian government is now providing families with earlier eligibility for citizenship as to assist them with their immigration to Australia, including providing access to employment opportunities and educational assistance.
Previously, the families of lateral recruits will have to wait for up to four years for permanent residency whilst the servicing member was able to apply after completing a minimum 90 days’ service.
Meanwhile, according to the Minister for Defense Science and Personnel Warren Snowden, these amendments are a great way for Australia to attract personnel to highly specialized roles within the ADF as this scheme will be providing tangible benefits to lateral recruits’ migrating families.
Minister Snowdon said, “Over the past five years the ADF has recruited over 500 members from overseas. Fast-tracking citizenship for their families will ease some of the stress associated with such a significant move.”
This move has been met with approval from the opposition in a rare show of bipartisan cooperation, as this bill was passed by the upper house with the help of the Coalition and Greens, who say were the driving force behind this change.
Family members of overseas lateral recruits who were granted the same Australian visa application on or after 1 July 2007 will be able to take advantage of these amendments when they come into effect on January 1, 2013.