Australia - New residence requirements for Australian citizenship

What are the new residence requirements for Australian citizenship?

The new residence requirements for Australian citizenship will mean that applicants will need:

four (4) years lawful residence in Australia immediately prior to making an application for Australian citizenship with at least 12 months as a permanent resident, and absences from Australia of no more than 12 months in total in the four (4) years prior to application, and no more than three (3) months in the 12 month permanent residency period prior to application.

When will the new residence requirements come into effect?

The new legislation is likely to commence on 1 July 2007.

Will they affect current permanent residents?

The new residence requirements will only apply to people who become permanent residents on or after commencement of the legislation. People who are permanent residents before the commencement of the new legislation will only need to meet the current residence requirements (presence in Australia as a permanent resident for periods amounting to two (2) years in the last five (5) years including one (1) year in the last two (2) immediately prior to making the application) provided they applied within three (3) years from the day the legislation commences.

What effect will the new residence requirements have on temporary residents (eg. 457 visa holders) ?

The new changes recognise time spent in Australia as temporary residents prior to the acquisition of permanent residence. Up to three (3) years of temporary residence will count towards the four (4) year residence requirement for citizenship. In other words, people who become permanent residents after the changes commence and have been living in Australia on temporary visas immediately before becoming a permanent resident will be able to have up to three (3) years of the time spent as holders of temporary visas counted towards the four (4) year residence requirement.

They will need to have a minimum of one (1) year as a permanent resident.

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