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Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Test Review and Other Measures) Bill 2009

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5925

2008-2009

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Test Review and Other Measures) Bill 2009

 

 

(1)     Page 5 (after line 27), at the end of the bill, add:

Schedule 2 Amendments relating to additional categories

   

Australian Citizenship Act 2007

 1  After subsection 21(8)

Insert:

Australian public interest

             (9)  A person is eligible to become an Australian citizen if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  granting a certificate of Australian citizenship to the person would be in the Australian public interest because of exceptional circumstances relating to the applicant; and

                     (b)  the applicant was not present in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen at any time during the period of 2 years immediately before the day the applicant made the application; and

                     (c)  the person has met the requirements of subsection (2A).

           (10)  As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, the Department must publish on its website and present to each House of the Parliament a list of all the persons who received citizenship under subsection (9) during the year and the reasons for the decision.

Individuals employed overseas

           (11)  A person is eligible to become an Australian citizen if the Minister is satisfied that:

                     (a)  at the time the person made the application, the person is engaged in work that requires them to regularly travel outside Australia; and

                     (b)  the person was engaged in that kind of work for a total of at least 2 years during the period of 4 years immediately before the day the person made the application; and

                     (c)  the person was ordinarily resident in Australia throughout the period of 4 years immediately before the day the person made the application; and

                     (d)  the person was present in Australia for a total of at least 480 days during the period of 4 years immediately before the day the person made the application; and

                     (e)  the person was present in Australia for a total of at least 120 days during the period of 12 months immediately before the day the person made the application; and

                      (f)  the person has demonstrated they would suffer significant hardship or disadvantage if they did not receive citizenship; and

                     (g)  the person was a permanent resident for the period of 12 months immediately before the day the person made the application; and

                     (h)  the person was not present in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen at any time during the period of 4 years immediately before the day the person made the application; and

                      (i)  the person has met the requirements of subsection (2A).

2  After section 22

Insert:

22A  Minister’s decision—Australian public interest

             (1)  The Minister’s decision under subsection 24(1) in relation to a person who is eligible to become an Australian citizen under subsection 21(9) cannot be delegated.

             (2)  In making a decision referred to in subsection (1) the Minister must give consideration to the fact that the applicant’s becoming an Australian citizen would be of benefit to Australia.

Ministerial discretion—administrative error

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph 21(9)(b), the Minister may treat a period as one in which the applicant was not present in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen if the Minister considers the applicant was present in Australia during that period but, because of an administrative error, was an unlawful non-citizen during that period.

22B  Minister’s decision—Individuals employed overseas

             (1)  The Minister’s decision under subsection 24(1) in relation to a person who is eligible to become an Australian citizen under subsection 21(11) cannot be delegated.

             (2)  In making a decision referred to in subsection (1) the Minister must give consideration to the fact that the person would suffer significant hardship or disadvantage if they did not receive citizenship.

Confinement in prison or psychiatric institution

             (3)  Subject to subsection (4), the person is taken not to satisfy paragraph 21(11)(c) if, at any time during the 4 year period mentioned in that paragraph, the person was:

                     (a)  confined in a prison; or

                     (b)  confined in a psychiatric institution by order of a court made in connection with proceedings for an offence against an Australian law in relation to the person.

             (4)  The Minister may decide that subsection (3) does not apply in relation to the person if, taking into account the circumstances that resulted in the person’s confinement, the Minister is satisfied that it would be unreasonable for that subsection to apply in relation to the person.

Ministerial discretion—administrative error

             (5)  For the purposes of paragraph 21(11)(g), the Minister may treat a period as one in which the person was a permanent resident if the Minister considers that, because of an administrative error, the person was not a permanent resident during that period.

             (6)  For the purposes of paragraph 21(11)(h), the Minister may treat a period as one in which the person was not present in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen if the Minister considers the person was present in Australia during that period but, because of an administrative error, was an unlawful non-citizen during that period.

3  Subsection 24(1A)

Omit “or (8)”, substitute “, (8), (9) or (11)”.

4  Subsection 24(2)

Omit “or (7)”, substitute “, (7), (9) or (11)”.

[new applicant categories]