Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe PSM today released a report into the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s processing of applications for Australian citizenship by conferral.
The report looks at delays in the department’s handling of citizenship applications that require enhanced identity and integrity clearance checks.
Last year, the Ombudsman’s Office received an increase in complaints from people who had lodged applications for citizenship by conferral and had waited, in some cases, over 18 months for an outcome.
‘The report makes four recommendations aimed at improving the quality of information available to delegates in the Australian Citizenship Instructions (ACI) in order to achieve greater certainty and timeliness in complex identity and character assessments,’ Mr Manthorpe said.
The department is currently revising its Australian Citizenship Instructions to improve guidance to delegates. The department has also worked to reduce the total number of citizenship by conferral applications it has on-hand for processing.
‘The department has achieved a reduction in the overall number of cases under consideration, although we have also seen an increase in the number of applications where a decision has not been made for over two years. The department still has work to do to ensure timely management of these complex cases,’ Mr Manthorpe said.
The department has accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendations. The Ombudsman’s Office will continue to work to monitor the implementation of the recommendations in the report.