250 citizenship ceremonies to take place in September

Date: Sep 17, 2012

Immigration minister Chris Bowen has announced that more than 3,000 people from over 100 countries have become Australian citizens in 60 ceremonies across the country on Monday September 17.

"Australian Citizenship Day is a great opportunity for all Australians to reflect on the value of citizenship, whether they have become citizens by birth or by choice.

"Becoming an Australian citizen is an important step and shows commitment to this country and its people," he said.

The month of September will see a total of 250 citizenship ceremonies take place, in partnership with local councils and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship occur in major cities and small regional towns.

If you have any questions about the citizenship process, talk to an experienced immigration lawyer.

When Australian citizenship for foreigners was introduced in 1949, Italian immigrants were at the top of the list with 708 people becoming citizens and since that year 4.5 million people have become Australian citizens.

In 2011-12 over 84,000 people became Australian citizens with immigrants from the United Kingdom taking up the largest percentage of new Australians with 19.5 per cent or 16,401 people.

Most other nations who had citizens in the top ten were all from countries that were in the Asia-Pacific region, apart from South Africans who made up five per cent of the new citizens, or just over 4,000 people.

A report into the citizenship test in 2011 found that a very small number of individuals failed the test, with 0.1 per cent of people failing. That equates to 33 people not passing out of over 30,000 who did.

The humanitarian program testing fared worse with 14 per cent failing to pass which signals that humanitarian based entrants for citizenship need better access to practise tests or are being let down in some way or another.

The report also pointed out that there are courses which don't involve tests, accommodating those who aren't able to complete a computer-based test because of illiteracy. Since that option was introduced in 2010, 321 people have passed that test out of 355 attempted. This is a pass rate of 90 per cent.

In addition to these ceremonies, schools and scout organisations will accommodate current citizens who wish to take part in reaffirmation ceremonies which allow them to express their continued support and loyalty to this country.

Minister Bowen describes becoming an Australian citizen as an important privilege which entails both rights and responsibilities.

"I invite Australia's newest citizens to share in the common bond of citizenship and the responsibilities and privileges it entails," he said.