The Importance of Citizenship

Most migrants come to Australia with the intention of eventually applying for permanent residence and then ultimately Australian citizenship. Of course to be granted either of these or initially a visa, applicants must meet character requirements.

What are Character requirements?
The character requirements are set out by the Department of Immigration to determine if anyone applying for a visa or Australian citizenship is of good character.

You are not likely to pass the character requirements in the following circumstances:
–       You have a substantial criminal record
–       You have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention or you were convicted for an offence that you committed while in immigration detention, during an escape from immigration detention or after an escape from immigration detention
–       You are or have been a member of a group or organisation, or had or have an association with a person, group or organisation that is suspected of being involved in criminal conduct
–       You are suspected of having been involved in people smuggling, people trafficking, genocide, a war crime, a crime against humanity, a crime involving torture or slavery, or a crime that is of serious international concern
–       Your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character

–       There is a risk that while you are in Australia you would:

      • engage in criminal conduct
      • harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person
      • vilify a segment of the Australian community
      • incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it
      • be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it.

–       You have been convicted, found guilty or had a charge proven for, one or more sexually based offences involving a child

–       You are subject to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

–       You are subject to an Interpol notice, from which it is reasonable to infer that you are a direct or indirect risk to the Australian community, or a segment of the Australian community.

What happens if you are of good character but a slip in judgement by you or a member of your family calls your good character into question? In cases where a visa holder has breached character requirements, their visa has been cancelled and they have been deported back to their country. This results in not being given another visa to visit Australia.

While deporting someone on character grounds seems reasonable especially if they pose a risk to the Australian community, what happens if the person in breach of character requirements is in Australia with their family; how does it affect them? Unfortunately, if the family does not have citizenship, there is the possibility that a breach in character requirements can affect them all, resulting in them having to return to their home country. While this doesn’t seem fair and a whole family shouldn’t be punished for the actions of one person, permanent residence does not protect against this.

How Can These Circumstances be Avoided?
By becoming Australian citizens, families can help protect themselves from deportation. While one of the major benefits of  Australian citizenship is being able to remain in Australia for as long as you wish without requiring a visa to re-enter Australia,  it also means that you cannot be deported for any crimes you or a family member commit after becoming a citizen.


The lesson here is if you are in a position to apply for citizenship, do it. It can protect you and your family against any of life’s up and downs.