Throughout the world, Australia is known to be one of the most laidback countries in the world. This stereotype is derived from the typical Australian lifestyle, which involves a degree of informality, a relaxed approach to issues and an easy-going demeanor. Given that a significant number of Australian cities are close to beaches, it can be argued that the ‘Aussie’ lifestyle is a modified version of the beach lifestyle, and rightly so! Our sun and beaches are arguably some of the best in the world! More importantly however, Australia in recent times has embraced a multicultural policy. Australians have opened the beauty of their land and culture to those who are willing to embrace the shared values and cultural traditions.
With this multicultural approach, the Australian community has prospered by experiencing (and integrating) to their lifestyle a variety of food, lifestyle and cultural practices. Currently, one in four of Australia’s 22 million people were born overseas.* So in a way, the “laid-backness” that Australians practice goes hand-in-hand when it comes to accommodating and accepting all cultures (and they are better for it). Therefore, becoming an Australian Citizen means to contribute and help grow a diverse and unique community.
In terms of benefits, there are actually a few significant benefits of citizenship, yet many are not quite sure in making the step. Residents who are currently on permanent visas may have at one time or another asked themselves whether it is worth the trouble. With Australia’s strong social and welfare policies, holding citizenship has little practical effect on most situations faced by the permanent migrant. With this in mind, holders of permanent visa holders do not quite see the point in making their status ‘official’. However, unbeknownst to many there are quite a few distinct advantages in acquiring Australian citizenship.
To name a few, Australian citizens are given rights that permanent residents do not. Some of these include the ability to vote, the ability to apply for many State or Federal Government jobs, and the ability to travel visa free to European and many Asia Pacific countries. Furthermore, as an Australian citizen, you have the option of registering your children as Australian citizens. Other advantages (that usually goes ‘under the radar’) include the ability for citizens to travel in and out of Australia freely. Of course a permanent resident visa holder is allowed to initially travel in and out of Australia freely, however, the right to re-enter Australia expires after five years.
Of all advantages mentioned, one of the most significant benefits in becoming an Australian citizen lies in the granting of the Higher Education Commonwealth Supported (HECS) scheme. This scheme allows students undergoing higher education in Australia to obtain domestic rates, which can be up to 50% less than the fees international students are charged. Most importantly however, the ability to defer educational fees until full-time employment is the icing on the cake. For some of those considering higher education, this option is the difference between having the ability to partake in studies (as finances are usually one of the issues that precludes persons undertaking studies). In previous years, this scheme was available to both permanent residents and Australian citizens. This however, is no longer the current situation due to recent reforms.
The advantages mentioned above are only some of the advantages that are available to you if you make the commitment to become a formal member of the Australian community. As Australia is a growing country that celebrates diversity, the strength of the Australian community only becomes stronger with integration. Given the Australian Government’s unwavering commitment to a multicultural Australia, those who choose to call Australia home gain access to a community that is conducive to growth, diversity and acceptance.
If you are interested in becoming an Australian citizen, or are unsure of the full benefits that citizenship offers, our team of dedicated migration experts at Valet Migration can help you answer any questions or queries you may have. We can be contacted on 02 9191 5580.