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Citizenship of children born in Australia

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M e d i a R e l e a s e


Some children who were born in Australia but are not already Australian citizens may become citizens on their 10th birthday, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

Before 20 August 1986, almost all children born in Australia became Australian citizens at birth. The law was changed in 1986 so that children only became citizens at birth, if they had at least one parent who was an Australian citizen or lawful permanent resident.

"The change was in response to an increasing number of illegal immigrants who had children in Australia and then attempted to avoid removal on the grounds that their child was an Australian citizen," Mr Ruddock said.

The 1986 amendment also allows children born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, to become Australian citizens on their 10th birthday if they did not become citizens at birth. They must have been ordinarily resident in Australia for the 10 years since their birth.

"It was thought appropriate that young children who have only known Australia as home in their first ten years, should become Australian citizens by law," Mr Ruddock said.

"Being Australian citizens, however, will not alter their parents' status, nor will it necessarily affect the parents' right to remain in Australia.

'The acquisition of citizenship under the 1986 amendment is automatic on the child's 10th birthday. An application for citizenship is not required."

This law does not affect children who become Australian citizens in other ways, such as if: . the child was born in Australia before 20 August 1986; . the parents were Australian citizens or permanent residents at the time of

their child's birth; or . the child has already been granted Australian citizenship since birth.

Parents enquiring whether their child is an Australian citizen, should contact the nearest office of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, or the Citizenship Enquiry Line on 131 880 for the cost of a local call. A processing fee of $55 is payable if evidence of Australian citizenship is sought.

CANBERRA 19 August 1996

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Ingram 06 277 7860 or 0419 278 715

DEPARTMENTAL CONTACT: Garry Fleming _ . (06) 264 2940

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144