MORISSET - Well it took a long time, and with changing and ever-stricter requirements it was something of a tribulation, but Rose has had her Australian citizenship application approved. Thank you, Minister Dutton.
It started when we were married in the Port Moresby Botanical Gardens. I wanted to take Rose to visit Australia, and the tourist visas were then processed at the Australian High Commission in Waigani. That was the easiest step - getting her a tourist visa.
Then things got more complicated when we moved to Australia. The three-month tourist visas had to be renewed but you had to leave the country. So she enjoyed trips to Bali, Singapore, Vanuatu and back to PNG. It almost bankrupted us. But then someone helpfully said you can apply when in Australia!
Then came the ‘spouse visa’. More checks and reports, but it was granted. Then came “permanent residency.” This involved an AIDS test, chest x-rays for TB and more police clearances. Someone then said, “why don’t you apply for citizenship?”
So we did. That was a rigmarole involving more police checks, medical reports and dozens of forms to be filled – including one which asked if you had ever been a terrorist or involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction. We were tempted to answer, “Yes – buai”, but decided against.
Permanent residency was eventually granted and then we waited to hear about the citizenship application. And waited. And waited some more.
Then Rose was asked to attend an English language test (this was just before Minister Dutton decided to upgrade it to university entrance level). She passed.
More waiting. After 11 months we contacted our local member of parliament for help. It worked. Late last week, we received a notice that Rose’s Australian citizenship had been approved. Thank you, Minister Dutton. Now we wait for the ceremony. Rose has been warned if she does not attend and uphold the pledge to support Australian values, her citizenship will be revoked.
So all’s well that ends well (almost). It has cost around $4,000 and consumed seven years of hoop-jumping.
Franz Kafka would be proud. God bless Australia!