Refugee Council of Australia
Citizenship ceremony

Delays in citizenship applications for permanent refugee visa holders

Further identity checks and security checks

A few participants advised they have been told by DIBP that they are undergoing further ‘internal checks’, which may include identity checks and security checks. All applicants have passed rigorous security assessments by ASIO and have established their identity and refugee claim. Further, these applicants are already living in the community on permanent visas. None of the applicants have been given a chance to respond to any of these additional internal checks, and have not been given additional information regarding the reason for these checks. Again, it seems that these additional internal checks are happening to a very select group of citizenship applicants. While RCOA understands the need to verify an applicant’s identity, we do not understand the need for applicants to undergo further identity and security checks, all of which were already undertaken during the refugee application process.

Requests for difficult to obtain documents

A number of participants have been asked to obtain documents which are very difficult, or even impossible, to obtain. The additional documents include police checks from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran; birth certificates from countries which do not issue birth certificates; and other identity documents which are not normally issued to people in the relevant countries. These documents are especially difficult for people to obtain due to their refugee experience – for many people, it is impossible for them to seek a birth certificate or identity document from a country which they have fled from due to persecution. Further, many people spent significant time in countries of asylum such as Pakistan or Iran, but were not officially registered in those countries. This makes receiving a police check or identity documents impossible to obtain, as they were never registered in these countries. RCOA has heard from participants that countries such as Pakistan do not issue police checks to people who are not resident in Pakistan, making it impossible for a person to receive the the DIBP requested documents. As one participant expressed:

They asked me to get Police Clearance Certificate from Pakistan or Pakistani consulate, as I had spent more than 90 days in Pakistan in total. The document is almost impossible to get, and I was not able to get the document. But my application was approved on 19th of November 2013 without submitting the document.

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