Australia Welcomes New Expats

By Haruna Kobayashi, for 27 January, 2015

Nearly 16,000 expats to Australia chose Australia Day, January 26, to become new citizens, in ceremonies held across the country.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed one group on the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, as part of the national Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony. He said: "All of you have voted quite literally with your feet for Australia. Your lives will be the better for your decision. And our lives and our country will be the better for your decision."

Councils held 330 ceremonies across Australia, in which expats from 152 countries participated.

Officials from the Australian Electoral Commission were on hand with practical assistance with registration on the electoral roll. Enrollment is compulsory in Australia, and Tom Rogers, the Electoral Commissioner, said that Australia Day provides a great reminder to all Australians to go online and check they are correctly enrolled to vote.

With exceptions, attending a citizenship ceremony and making the pledge of allegiance are requirements for becoming an Australian citizen. Generally, immigrants are invited to attend a ceremony at their local council within six months of approval. Immigrants who delay for more than 12 months without an acceptable reason may have their approval reviewed or cancelled.

Ceremonies take place throughout the year, although events on Australia Day and on Australian Citizenship Day on September 17 have a higher profile.

Tags: Citizenship | Australia | Expats | Immigration | Immigration |


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