At least four residents of Albury in New South Wales who were resettled through the ongoing third country resettlement program overseen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have become Australian citizens.
One of new citizens, Bom Bahadur Bhattarai (68), was very excited to become an Australian.
“The Australian citizenship has made me to forget the bygone days of refugee camps in Nepal. I have become citizens of two countries – Bhutan and Australia,” Bhattarai said.
Albury Mayor Cr Alice Glachan granted the citizenship certificates to him, wife Lilawati and eldest son Purna amidst a ceremony on November 26.
“What a proud moment to get identity after 22 years!,” said his youngest son Buddha, who awaits the citizenship ceremony.
Another fellow Bhutanese Krishna Bahadur Chouhan was also granted citizenship during the ceremony.
Local MPs representing legislature assemble from Albury, councilors, TAFE teachers and volunteers were also present to see joys on eyes of new citizens.
Krishna and Purna passed the citizenship test conducted by the Albury City Council, while the Bhattarai couple qualified through other eligibilities provisioned by law of the land.
A group of 20 Bhutanese including the Bhattarai family had reached Albury on October 8, 2008. Of them six were children.
Meanwhile, at least five residents from Adelaide of South Australia belonging to one Adhikari and another Yogi families have obtained Australian citizenship.
“Several have given the citizenship test. They are awaiting the results and citizenship ceremony,” a permanent resident told BNS.
The legal provision is that people born in Australia of Australian parents become Australian citizens by birth. People who migrate to Australia, including refugees, can acquire citizenship by grant.
Generally, refugees are eligible for Australian citizenship when they have been present in Australia as a permanent resident for four years.
Local councils organize citizenship ceremonies and every aspiring citizen must make a pledge of commitment during the ceremonies.
Australian citizens are legally allowed to hold the citizenship of another country (dual citizenship) or more than two countries (plural citizenship).
Bhim Bhattarai from Albury and Bikram Adhikari from Adelaide contributed to this news report while the pictures used are by Bhim Bhattarai and Krishna Chouhan.