22 August 2008

3,000 Maltese hoping to get Aust citizenship under new law

The Government is looking to amend the Australian Citizenship Act so 3,000 Maltese-born children can apply directly for Australian citizenship, reports the Times of Malta.

Australian-born adults who migrated to Malta and wished to become Maltese citizens had to, under the 1948 Citizenship Act, renounce their Australian citizenship.  As a result, around 3,000 Maltese children with Australian-born parents were not allowed a direct path to Australian citizenship.

As of July 2007, those Maltese who had to renounce their citizenship are now allowed to re-apply for Australian citizenship status.  However, the Australian Government is now being urged to change legislation so that the 3,000 children born to the Maltese ex-pats can also apply for citizenship.  When in opposition to the Howard government, the Labour Party promised the Maltese ex-patriots they would amend the Citizenship Act if elected to Government to allow a reinstatement of citizenship rights for those children in Malta.

"We are still hopeful that there is the political will under the new government in Canberra to make the required amendment to the Act so that approximately 3,000 children born in Malta with Australian-born parents will then have a direct route to Australian citizenship," said Anne McGregor of the Southern Cross Group. 

The Labour Party, which entered Government November last year, has focused its efforts on improving the immigration system so more people will be encouraged to move to Australia.  Currently, the country is suffering from skills shortages in many occupations (which are listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List), particularly in construction, accountancy, seasonal labour, and mining industries.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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