Australia’s citizenship process is not efficient, audit finds

Audit Office citizenship processing
An Australian National Audit Office report is critical of citizenship by conferral processing delays. (Photo: Audit Office)

Oz Kiwi opinion

Three or four years ago citizenship by conferral applications were typically processed within six to nine months, from lodgement to ceremony. Processing times have increased to between 17 and 22 months after a six month processing freeze in 2017 while Parliament considered Peter Dutton’s Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill saw applications increase as applicants wanted to avoid having to reside for four years as a permanent resident. Increased background checks also now require citizenship applicants to complete a detailed character assessment form, adding to the processing time.

Australia’s citizenship process is not efficient

11 February 2019

Source – AAP and SBS

People who have sought to become Australian citizens are not having their applications handled efficiently, an audit office review has found.

Australian citizenship applications are not being processed in a timely way by the Department of Home Affairs, according to the Auditor-General. But the Department disagrees, arguing measures introduced in the past three years to protect national security and community safety are delivering results.

An Australian National Audit Office review has found just 15 per cent of applications for citizenship “by conferral” – which makes up the bulk of applications – were processed within 80 days in 2017/18. That compares to the Department’s former target to process 80 per cent of applications within 80 days, which it dropped in 2017.

The Department does, however, measure the time taken to obtain citizenship from lodging an application to attending a ceremony. The Auditor-General found that time “increased significantly” between March 2017 and September 2018, despite a dip in the “relative complexity” of applications being lodged.

[Read the full SBS article].

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