• Proposal Would Streamline Naturalization for Senior Executives and Specialists
  • June 26, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Australian government has introduced legislation that would broaden the class of foreign nationals eligible for shortened residence requirements for Australian citizenship. Eligible foreign nationals would include senior executives, highly specialized scientists, and others for whom a grant of citizenship would be in the national interest.

    The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship would, in his or her personal discretion, have the authority to apply shortened residence requirements to very senior executives, highly specialized scientists and medical specialists, internationally renowned writers and sports people, and individuals who have held a distinguished talent visa. The Minister’s exercise of discretion would not be subject to appeal but would be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. As such, the proposed rules would likely only apply in very exceptional cases.

    The shortened residence requirements are a limited exception to the general four-year resident requirement for Australian citizenship. Under the shortened residence requirements, an individual need only be present in Australia for at least 180 days in the two years immediately prior to applying for citizenship and hold permanent residence status for the 90 days immediately before applying. The applicant must also commit to be ordinarily resident in Australia for two years after becoming a citizen under the shortened requirements and be present in Australia for at least 180 days during those two years. Applicants have to meet all other standard citizenship requirements.

    The shortened requirements are currently only available to a very narrow class of foreign nationals, such as those competing for an Australian team in the Olympic Games or Davis or Federal Cup competitions, and individuals who are engaged in specified work requiring regular travel outside Australia, such as crewmen or individuals working on sea installation.