Australia Day, celebrated on January 26th, has always been a popular day for the country to welcome expats as new citizens. Ceremonies for new citizenship occur throughout the calendar year, but many enthusiastic citizens-to-be choose to have their ceremony on days that are special Down Under, such as Australia Day and also Australian Citizenship Day, which is on September 17th.
Ceremonies Held Across the Nation
This year, Australia Day 2015 saw a lot of love from expats towards their new nation of citizenship, as almost 16,000 people stood up to become Australian citizens in ceremonies that were held across the nation.
There were 330 ceremonies held by different councils throughout Australia, and 152 countries were represented by expats participating to officially become Australian.
Australia is a country made up of many different peoples who have emigrated from all over the world. Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949, and since then over 4.5 million people have become naturalized citizens. Between 2013 and 2014, 163017 people became citizens of Australia from over 190 countries, and with such a strong start in both numbers and nationalities represented, it looks like 2015 may see even more people coming forward to become new Australians.
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And though the numbers are large, the Aussies remain welcoming of their new countrymen - at one of this year’s Australia Day citizenship ceremonies in Canberra, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott was even on hand to address the participants, and in his speech he talked of how Australia could enrich the new citizens’ lives while they could simultaneously enrich Australia.
To become an Australian citizen officially, in general the protocol is to attend one of these citizenship ceremonies and also make the pledge of allegiance to Australia. Attendance at a citizenship ceremony is by invitation from the applicant’s local council - an honour that generally occurs around half a year after citizenship paperwork being approved. If new citizens do not attend a citizenship ceremony within 12 months of their invitation without a reasonable reason, processing of final citizenships can be cancelled, and paperwork previously approved may come under review.
At the citizenship ceremonies, officials from the Australian Electoral Commission help the new Australians with getting registered on the country’s electoral roll - it is mandatory to be enrolled to vote as an Australian citizen of voting age, and with such a large number of diverse citizens in the country, it is important for all Australians old and new to take an active interest in their country’s best interests.