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Waive Citizenship Ceremonies for Approved Applicants

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We write to you in the opportunity to respectfully ask for an alternative way to formalise the citizenship of those applicants who have already been approved by the Department of Home Affairs and are only waiting for a citizenship ceremony to become Australian Citizens.

All of us signing this petition have already passed our citizenship tests and interviews, and have been approved by the Department. Most of us have also been waiting to formalise our commitment to Australia for at least 4-5 years, and were very much looking forward to our citizenship ceremonies to officially formalise our commitment to this great nation. However, in light of the terrible situation the world is going through right now due to COVID-19, citizenship ceremonies have been cancelled by most if not all councils and have been put on hold indefinitely.

We do not mean in any way to undermine the already devastating situation generated by COVID-19 and we acknowledge how much this is affecting everyone, especially the most vulnerable. However, we are all in this together and having our citizenship process put on hold is now adding to an already quite stressful situation, and we believe that implementing an alternative method to formalise citizenships (rather than the traditional public ceremony) would not only help relieve the stress of all applicants who are currently on hold, but would also help all government parties involved to maximise resources and therefore make them available to be reallocated.

The New Zealand Government has already taken the lead in this issue and has introduced an alternative method on 16 March 2020 to allow approved applicants to become citizens by waiving the public ceremony requirement and sending their citizenship certificates via Post.

Official advise from New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs can be found here:!OpenDocument

We believe that waiving the citizenship ceremony would also bring the following added benefits which are in the Public Interest:

- Avoid long waiting lists and processing backlog which puts relevant institutions under pressure.

 - Release resources from the Department of Home Affairs, the Councils and other Authorities involved in public ceremonies, and make said resources available to be reallocated to other issues of higher priority for the general public.

- Reduce greenhouse emissions by going paperless and virtual. This means no power, water, logistics, and food/beverages consumption/cost, as well as no waste generated from sometimes +100 people gatherings for public ceremonies.

Therefore, we would like to respectfully request that the Australian Government consideres the implementation of an alternative way, just as our fellow New Zealanders did, for applicants whose citizenship application have already been approved by the Department of Home Affairs, to be able to formalise our citizenship and our commitment to Australia.

Thanking you in advance and wishing you to stay safe in these challenging times ahead.

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