Hello, my name is Bob. I’m an Australian.
Well, that may be stretching the point a bit, but I am an Australian citizen. Regular readers will have read about our Australian citizenship ceremony.
I was, of course, born in England, so I am British. But now after a very long and sometimes bumpy ride, I now am also an Australian citizen. I now have what is called dual citizenship.
And I am very proud of that. Here is how I described the journey for a recent article in Australia and New Zealand magazine for their April edition …
Australia Day is, as you can imagine, a special day for Australians. I’ll come to that in a minute. But first, let’s go back about six years. December 2005, to be precise, that’s when we had the idea to move to Australia. And with that decision, we boarded the ‘up and down’ rollercoaster ride that is otherwise known as applying for a permanent residency visa.
- Up; someone recommended a good MARA migration agent to us.
- Down; after taking our details, she seemed to lose interest in us.
- Up; we found an agent who thinks we do have a chance.
- Down; we are five points short.
- Up; we can buy government bonds and get those five points.
- Down; my wife’s skill would have to be assessed before we could put in the application.
- Up; my wife passes the assessment.
- Down; a problem with my medical, need a full CAT scan.
- Up; CAT scan is good.
- More up; the phone rings at 6:30 AM, it’s our MARA agent “You’re in!”
Wow, what a ride! What’s next?
It’s the Tunnel of Love, otherwise known as living in Australia.
This is a very long, slow and enjoyable ride. It’s full of beautiful and ever-changing scenery, with so many new and different things to explore and enjoy. There is a gentle pace about this ride; it’s less stressful than the rollercoaster.
It is such a good ride, you’d be happy to stay on it for ever. Except you can’t. But you do have to stay on it for at least four years. Only then can you head off to the best ride of all.
Aarrrgh! Splash!! Hoorah!!! Wow, that was quick! Yes, this is the ‘becoming Australian’ ride, and it’s very fast. By November 14, 2011 we had lived in Australia for four full years as permanent residents.
This entitled us to apply for Australian citizenship. So we did, and with the Australian’s customary administrative efficiency, within a week we were given the date to take our citizenship tests.
The commonly used Australian phrase “too easy” springs to mind here.
After answering the 20 computer based multiple-choice questions, the screen immediately informed us we had passed. A few days later, we received a letter from the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship. He was delighted to inform us that our applications for Australian citizenship had been approved. We just needed to take one final step.
We needed to make a Pledge of Commitment at an Australian Citizenship Ceremony.
And that brings me back to Australia Day. Australia Day is on January 26, and that’s when our ceremony was earlier this year.
What an amazing occasion!
Aboriginal dancers enthralled us with a Traditional Welcome and Fire Lighting Ceremony. A cappella singers serenaded us. 1,117 immigrants became Australian citizens on this occasion; probably three times that many watched from the surrounding seats.
The service was led by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and the Premier of Queensland. Australia takes these ceremonies seriously. So did we. My wife welled up, I had a lump in my throat and Elizabeth simply beamed throughout.
Yes, Australia Day is a very special day for Australians and that now includes me, my wife, Karen, and my daughter, Elizabeth.
What a ride!