24 April 2009

Russian speed skater on Australian visa wants to fast-track citizenship process

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Former European champion and Australian visa holder is looking to have the Australian citizenship rules bent for her case, and eventually amended so that talented people can become an Australian citizen faster, reports The Age.

Tatiana Borodulina, a 24-year-old Russian skater, thought that emigrating to Australia in 2007 and leaving her family and boyfriend behind would be a great career move for her, and is looking to have her Australian visa converted to Australian citizenship by the winter Olympics in Vancouver so that she may represent her new country.

After emigrating to Australia in 2007, Borodulina missed having her citizenship approved by just 18 days because a delay from the Russian security clearance centre caused her to miss out on applying before the Citizenship Act was amended.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is petitioning to have the rules changed so that talented sportspeople have an easier route to Australian citizenship, while also hoping that her joining of the Army Reserve would be enough to fast-track her into naturalisation. 

"This is a two-pronged approach to getting Tatiana Australian citizenship by the October Olympic qualifying period," said AOC director of sport Fiona de Jong.

"She has joined the Australian Army reserve because that shortens the citizenship time to six months, but we are also seeking to have the Citizens Act amended to re-establish the consideration for distinguished talent."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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