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Jul 3, 2024 | Citizenship

How To Lose Australian Citizenship?

As a permanent resident in Australia, you would have enjoyed living in a democratic society. At the same time, you are committed to the values of Australia and becoming a part of its democracy. There are certain Australian citizenship requirements you must meet for Australian citizenship. But do you know that you can also lose your Australian citizenship under certain circumstances? This blog mentions 6 situations or reasons where you can lose Australian citizenship. 

Reasons For Losing Australian Citizenship Certificate

Many people are not aware that they can lose their Australian citizenship. Let’s explore the reasons:

Renounce Australian Citizenship

If you are a citizen of Australia, you can apply to renounce it. You might make this decision because you are a citizen of another country or are entitled to become one. However, there is a process you need to follow. Furthermore, the Australian Government will not approve the application to renounce Australian citizenship. 

Migration Fraud

If you have applied for Australian citizenship as a migrant or have committed fraud or offence, the Minister can revoke your citizenship. However, these offences can be related to giving misleading information or fraudulent activity regarding the citizenship application. 

According to Defence Housing Australia (DHA), several circumstances can occur, including situations where authorities convict a person who acquires Australian citizenship of making false claims, providing false documents, or failing to disclose any serious criminal conviction.

In short, you can lose your Australian citizenship if you fail to provide complete material or a citizenship certificate to the Government to make an informed decision about your citizenship. 

Failure To Comply With Special Residence Requirements 

If a person fails to comply with the special residence requirements, the Minister can also revoke citizenship. In addition, special requirements involve giving a person Australian citizenship for some special services. Therefore, the special residence requirements may apply to you if:

  • You are seeking to engage in special activities such as participating as an athlete in an Australian team.
  • For at least 2 years, you have held a job that involves travelling outside Australia.

Inconsistent With Allegiance To Australia

According to DHA, dual nationals’ Australian citizenship will cease if you engage in any terrorism-related conduct, act contrary to allegiance to Australia, or act in service with a terrorist organisation. 

The terminology ‘conduct inconsistent with allegiance to Australia’ is not only about involvement in terrorism activity.It implies a much broader interpretation. If you are convicted of terrorism offences under the Australian Criminal Code, the Minister can also cancel your citizenship. In such situations, the Government has more power to determine the activities that can be punished with the loss of Australian citizenship.

Professor Kim Rubenstein said, “What is it to stop a government in the future from choosing other things to identify as not reflecting one’s allegiance to Australia?”

A particular type of behaviour is not acceptable in Australia. Currently, it is dealt with through criminal law. She thinks that the Government can decide in the future whether any dual citizenship convicted of the crime reflects a lack of allegiance to Australian values. 

She feels concerned about the blurred boundary between citizenship and criminal law. So, she prefers some activities that should be clearly unacceptable in society. They should deal with the criminal law system as well, not just with citizenship law as a form of punishment. 

Child Of A Responsible Parent

If you are the child of a responsible parent who is no longer an Australian citizen, the Minister can sometimes cancel your citizenship. However, this is the case when a dual citizen can lose their citizenship

Refusal

Fulfilling all the Australian citizenship requirements doesn’t mean you are eligible to get citizenship. Requirements involve:

  • Living in Australia for 4 years,
  • Being a permanent resident for 12 months or more

In the financial year 2016-2017, the Department of Home Affairs refused around 4151 citizenship applications. Over 1,866 were applications from people who failed the Australian citizenship test. 

Judy Hamawi, a migration lawyer, explained that the Department of Home Affairs commonly refuses applicants even after they fulfil all the requirements. Authorities decline some citizenship applications for many reasons. It includes:

  • Applicant failing in the character test
  • Being convicted of a crime and sentenced to at least twelve months in jail
  • Leaving Australia after applying for citizenship for a long time indicates you don’t intend to live in Australia

According to Ms Hamawi, the character test is one of the blurriest areas where the Department can base its decision to refuse a citizenship application. Domestic violence convictions, repeated traffic offences, and fraud charges also indicate bad character.

Latest Update On Stripping Of Australian Citizenship

News on losing Australian citizenship

The constitutional challenges to cancelling Australian citizenship are rare. In the last few months, the High Court has made three decisions simultaneously. In 2022, the court upheld two constitutional challenges to the revocation of citizenship in Alexander v Minister for Home Affairs. Another is Benbrika v Minister for Home Affairs from 2023. The Government revoked their citizenship for terrorism offences that constitute a person’s repudiation of allegiance to Australia.

In another case, the Commonwealth announced Jones v Commonwealth on the same day as Benbrika. However, officials found the revocation of a grant of naturalisation for conviction of a serious offence in a period of time after application but before the grant to be valid.

Disadvantages Of Losing Australian Citizenship

Losing Australian citizenship can have several disadvantages including but not limited to:

Cannot Apply Or Renew An Australian Passport

If you lose Australian citizenship, you cannot apply for or renew your Australian passport. This limits your travel freedom and access to consular support abroad. 

Inability To Return To Australia Without A Visa

Without citizenship, you must obtain a visa to re-enter Australia. It can be time-consuming and subject to immigration regulations, which limits your ability to visit.

Cannot Register Children Born Overseas As Australian Citizens

You cannot automatically register your children born overseas as Australian citizens by descent. Therefore, it can affect their access to benefits like healthcare, education, and residency. 

Cannot Join The Australian Defence Force

If you are not a citizen of Australia, you cannot join the Defence Force of Australia. It also restricts your career opportunities. 

Inability To Ask For Consular Assistance From An Australian Official While Overseas

Losing Australian citizenship means you cannot seek help from Australian consulates abroad, limiting your access to support in emergencies, legal issues or during crises in foreign countries. 

Conclusion

Losing citizenship in Australia can occur under various circumstances. However, understanding these conditions helps citizens navigate their rights and responsibilities, reinforcing the importance of upholding the nation’s values and laws.

Jack Nguyen

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