What’s the point of citizenship? The pros and cons…

As a permanent resident of Australia, you would have enjoyed living in a free and democratic society. So why take the next step and become an Australian citizen – is it truly worth the hassle?

Whilst applying to become an Australian citizen can be a lengthy process, the benefits of moving forward with the application will most certainly be worth it. So, what are some of the significant benefits of obtaining citizenship:

1. Stay forever

As a citizen of Australia, you are allowed to stay in Australia forever and can leave and return to Australia whenever you wish to do so provided you hold a valid Australian passport. However, as a permanent resident, you do not have the automatic right to return and are usually permitted a five-year travel facility. This means that after the five-year period is up, you will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (“RRV”) in order to maintain your travel rights. Not only do you need to ensure that you meet the criteria each time you apply for a RRV, but RRVs can be a costly business, costing $425 each time you apply. For more information on RRVs, please see our blog post Travelling as an Australian Permanent Resident? There is something you should know…

2. Consular assistance

Citizens of Australia are entitled to consular assistance in any country that you visit. This might be the case if you are involved in an accident, have issues with the criminal jurisdiction of the country you are visiting, or suffer a serious illness whilst travelling. The Covid pandemic highlighted the significant benefit of holding an Australian passport as Australian citizens who found themselves stranded overseas at the peak of the pandemic, were eligible for repatriation flights to Australia.

3. Financial assistance for education

Whilst permanent residents are able to enrol in Australian universities as domestic students, only Australian citizens have access to HECS financial assistance programs. This initiative allows students to defer payment of their study fees until they are employed and earning enough to begin repaying the debt.

4. Right to vote and sit on a jury

Once you reach 18 years of age, it is compulsory as an Australian citizen to vote in state, federal and local elections, thus giving you the opportunity to have a voice in the democratic process. You can also be called to sit on the jury of a criminal trial – you are only entitled to become a juror if you are legally registered to vote.

5. Power of the Australian passport

Aside from being an extremely popular place to reside in, the Australian passport is a favourable passport to hold as it allows you to travel to more than 170 countries and territories, visa-free or by obtaining a visa upon arrival.

So, what are the cons of obtaining citizenship? There are none! To discuss your eligibility to apply for Citizenship as well as the process involved, please contact the migration specialists at KU Legal:

+61 (0) 429 133 911

jb@kulegal.com.au

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