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More migrants become Australian citizens

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

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144


The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today said research just released based on the 1996 Census showed a significant increase during the 1990s in the rate of Australian Citizenship for the overseas-born.

At the launch of the new statistical report, Australian Citizenship 1996 Census* Mr Ruddock said the overall rate of overseas-born people taking up Australian citizenship rose to 73.2% in 1996, up an estimated 6 percent on the 1991 Census.

“Migrants recognise the meaning and value of Australian citizenship and have been prepared to take the extra step to becoming a citizen.

“The research is especially significant in 1999 as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Australian Citizenship."

The report shows that Citizenship rates among migrant groups vary enormously. Birthplaces with high take up rates include: Laos (97.6%), Lebanon (97.4%), Greece (97.3%), Hungary (96.6%) and Latvia (96.5%).

Birthplaces which showed a large increase in take up rates included El Salvador with a take up rate of 90.3%, Turkey (87.6%), Taiwan (Province of China) (83.5%) and Ireland (63.7%).

“The pool of eligible non-citizens fell from 1,130,000 in 1991 to 943,000 in 1998. While the absolute numbers of new citizens in any given year may decline, reflecting the smaller pool, the overall trend is encouraging."

Among other findings included in the report was a correlation between Engjish proficiency and the rate of Australian citizenship amongst the overseas-bom. Those overseas-born persons who spoke 'English only' had a substantially lower rate of Australian citizenship than those who spoke another language at home (65.3% compared to 79.9%).

The report identified low citizenship take-up rates by people born in New Zealand (35.1%), Japan (25.3%), Malaysia (56.9%) and the United States of America (57.3%).

Overall, the rate of citizenship increases with age which can be linked with the period of residence in Australia. However, there are some exceptions to this with migrants born in El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam and Hong Kong

having low median ages and high rates of citizenship.

The report, prepared by the Statistics Section of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, is based on data compiled from the 1996 Census.


Media inquiries: Brad Robinson 0419 278 715

Wednesday, 9 sjuiy 1999 ‘"alwv-AA. ^ΧλΑ 5 ^ ^

* Australian Citizenship 1996 Census (Statistical Report No 26) can be purchased from Government Information Shops around Australia.______________________

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