Transitional arrangements for new citizenship laws
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The new citizenship rules in Australia bring no transitional arrangements for people who were here before they took effect. Before the new law,in order to apply for citizenship you had to have lawful residence for 4 years and a minimum of 12 months on permanent residency. Now, you have to have 4 years on permanent residency.
This change caught everybody who is living here on other visas -legitimately granted by the same government- off guard and generated inequity. Now a person who has never been to Australia can become a citizen in 4 years. A person who has been living here for many years on another visa may take longer. That is not fair, nor smart. And everybody deserves fairness.
This is what is happening to me. I was about 12 months away from citizenship and now I am in the same situation as someone who has never set foot here before. Except I teach at an Australian university, I am integrated, I volunteer in my community, I help qualify other Australians and to date Australian taxpayers have spent more than AU$100,000 on my Education alone because I have a PhD scholarship from the government. I don't take it lightly and I make a contribution for the economy and the country. That has to count for something. So this period has to be grandfathered because those were the conditions under which I came here, and Australians do not want to dupe people. Ultimately, additional barriers for integration in this case throws taxpayer's money in the trash as it works against retaining the investment made.
If I graduate and move to Canada -where I have never been before- I may become a citizen there in less time than in Australia where I have been living for over 3 years now. Change the rules, but don't hurt people in the process. We cannot erase time. GRANDFATHER RESIDENCY PERIODS ON OTHER VISAS FOR CITIZENSHIP PURPOSES!
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