Over 13,000 new citizens expected at Australia Day ceremonies

Date: Jan 23, 2012

With Australia Day fast approaching, many soon-to-be citizens are sure to be practicing their lines for the affirmation ceremonies to be taking place on the day.

Thousands of people take part in these cultural events on January 26 every year - with residents of all types taking part in celebrating what they value in this great country.

Migrants taking the final step towards becoming a legal citizen are not the only attendees to make the pledge - an extra line at the start is reserved for those who currently have the right to hold an Australian passport.

According to official sources, over 125 local councils will be hosting affirmation events on Australia Day - giving many the opportunity to "celebrate what's great".

Speaking on the meaningful nature of the ceremony, National Australia Day Council chief executive officer Warren Pearson admitted that living in the country for a long time meant that he sometimes found the value of local values were not fully appreciated - and that the events helped to bring them into focus.

Pearson explained: "The citizenship story that comes to completion on Australia Day is so important because people have chosen to make Australia home. I've had the privilege of living here all my life and I guess I take that for granted sometimes.

"But people who choose to become citizens, who say 'I'm signing up to this great adventure called Australia', they're the ones on Australia Day who are reflecting on their citizenship most deeply."

Pearson also said that he felt the affirmation allows all citizens - both newly appointed and those born here - to gain a renewed sense of appreciation.

These views were reflected by a spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, who described a "growing trend" in attendance across the nation.

The spokesman said: "The popularity of affirmation ceremonies continues to grow with more and more existing Australian citizens affirming their commitment to Australia at stand-alone events as well as at citizenship ceremonies.

"Fittingly, Australia Day is the most popular day of the year for people to become Australian citizens, with some 13,700 people scheduled to make the pledge on January 26."

The large number of new citizens could be taken as a sign that the nation's popularity with visitors remains strong in recent years.

For migrants considering applying for residency or citizenship, an immigration lawyer provides an extra level of assurance on their application being accepted first-time.