Covid-19 causes thousands of Australian citizenship ceremonies to be cancelled

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Covid-19 causes thousands of Australian citizenship ceremonies to be cancelled

Tens of thousands are facing an indefinite wait to become Australian citizens after ceremonies across the country were cancelled due to the severe restrictions in place to counter the spread of covid-19. 

In the financial year 2018-19, 127,674 people became Australian citizens - the equivalent of 2,500 each week. There are now concerns that a major backlog is building. 

On 29 February the department of home affairs in Canberra recorded more than 120,000 applications pending, with more than 16,000 new applications received in February alone.

The current waiting time from date of application to ceremony can be up to two years for 90% of applicants in the main stream. 

There are more than 7.3 million migrants living in Australia, with the greatest majority of those - 992,000 - being born in the UK. There are 651,000 people from China in Australia,  592,000 from India and 568,000 from New Zealand

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison closed Australia's borders, meaning that anyone who arrives in the country must self-isolate for 14 days. He has also advised against international and domestic travel.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.