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Australian Government please include an exemption to citizenship changes for existing PRs

This petition had 10,728 supporters


Any changes to the citizenship application process going forwards are absolutely Australia's decision to make, but we ask that Malcom Turnbull and the Australian Government please honour the bargain you struck with thousands of existing Permanent Residents aspiring to become full citizens by providing a suitable exemption for them in your changes.

Please allow these people to apply for citizenship under the terms of the deal you originally brought them in to Australian on.

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On April 19th 2017, any person that was a Permanent Resident of Australia was, in all effect, promised the opportunity to apply for citizenship once they had spent a total of 4 years in Australia with at least 1 of those as a Permanent Resident.

When these people woke up on April 20th, regardless of whether they had been in Australian 1 year or 10 years, regardless of whether they already had qualified to apply for citizenship but hadn't yet gotten round to it, they were told that Australia had reneged on its end of the deal.

From April 20th, these people were told that the goalposts had been moved with immediate effect - they would need to have a minimum of 4 years as a Permanent Resident (instead of 1 year) before being afforded the opportunity to apply for citizenship. To make a change like this without providing exemptions to existing Permanent Residents is unprecedented.

  • No matter that some of these people will have filled in their citizenship application documentation ready to send in on April 21st, and now don't qualify to apply.
  • No matter that they had entered the country years previously being promised a particular path to citizenship application.
  • No matter the sacrifices they've already made to stay and strive for citizenship.
  • No matter the medical tests already paid for, the police checks paid for, the language tests paid for, the skills tests paid for, the long term rental contracts entered into, the taxes paid, the businesses started.
  • No matter the relationships and bonds already formed that now tie them to Australia but, because of these 'exemption-free' changes in the rules threaten being torn from them in the future.
  • No matter the Permanent Residents who gave their children to Australia by making them Australian Citizens before themselves (children of PRs qualify for citizenship) and now find themselves in the awful situation of not knowing if they'll ever join their children as citizens.

No matter that making a change like this without providing an exemption effectively stabs all Permanent Residents of Australia in the back and sends a message to all potential future migrants that Australia's word cannot be trusted - "Come to Australia, do these things to become a Citizen, and AFTER you're already here and have done all those things and paid all those costs, we might just decide to change the rules on you at the last minute!

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We ask Malcom Turnbull and the Australian Government to insert an exemption in to the proposals stating that Australia will honour the path to Citizenship application for existing Permanent Residents based upon the requirements laid out to them at the time they first became Permanent Residents, NOT based on the totally new set of rules that these people never agreed to.

We also ask that Malcom Turnbull and the Australian Government give due consideration to all existing working visa holders - although not Permanent Residents yet, these people also entered Australia under a particular set of beliefs about the path to citizenship application and have similar cause for complaint. In many cases, the pressure and sacrifices on these people is greater even that Permanent Residents - this is because people on working visas must maintain constant employment.

Any changes going forwards are Australia's to make and we recognise that such large changes can mean that some things are initially overlooked, so we ask only that Australia honour the bargain you struck with thousands of existing Permanent Residents aspiring to become full citizens by allowing them to apply for citizenship under the deal you originally agreed with them.



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