Family members of current and future lateral recruits to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are now eligible for conferral of Australian citizenship at the same time as the lateral recruit, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon MP, announced today.
The Australian Government’s amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 allow for fast-tracking of Australian citizenship for certain family members of overseas lateral recruits to the ADF. The amendments come into effect on 1 January 2013.
In order to qualify, the overseas lateral recruit must be granted a certain visa after 1 July 2007 and undertake 90 days service in either the permanent or reserve forces of the Army, Navy or Air Force.
“The Government recognises that families who support ADF members serving Australia should be able to build a close and continuing relationship with Australia at the same time as their serving family members,” Mr Bowen said.
“We are providing families with earlier eligibility for citizenship to assist them with settling in Australia, including providing access to employment opportunities and educational assistance.”
Importantly, the amendments also ensure eligibility for citizenship for the family members in the event that the ADF member dies before becoming eligible.
The amendments also clarify that defence service refers only to appointed and enlisted personnel in the Australian Defence Force.
“These amendments will assist Australia to attract personnel to highly specialised roles within the ADF as they will provide tangible benefits to lateral recruits’ migrating families,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Over the past five years the ADF has recruited over 500 members from overseas. Fast-tracking citizenship for their families will ease some of the stress associated with such a significant move.”
Family members of overseas lateral recruits who were granted the same visa on or after 1 July 2007 can take advantage of these amendments when they come into effect. Further information is available online at www.citizenship.gov.au
Minister Snowdon's Office: Lidija Ivanovski 0407 108 935
Minister Bowen's Office: Bill Kyriakopoulos 0400 510 802 / Laura Stevens 0432 833 769