As promised, we will be looking into the procedures for seeking refuge in other countries should things in the U.S. under Trump become intolerable. Today we went to the desk-front office of Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (that last little dismaying bit about “border protection” has been added in the last few paranoid years here, coinciding with the government’s horrendous treatment of desperate refugees trying to enter Australia by boat. Just an aside to let you know that the whole Western world seems to be going insanely xenophobic….). We presented ourselves as naturalized Australian citizens who would be moving back here, chiefly because of the election of Donald Trump, and asked for information on procedures for immigration by other Americans into the country.
First, the good news: we as Australian citizens would be able to sponsor family members to enter the country and apply for permanent residency (although there are quotas, and it seems that every application is handled on an individual basis). And Max (our son), as an Australian citizen, would have no trouble bringing his non-Australian wife and child; she would also be able to get work permits and permanent residency status easily once she was here. But here’s the bad news: we as Australian citizens would have no ability to sponsor friends or anyone else; they would simply have to apply through normal channels, following the procedures laid out on the Department’s website, www.border.gov.au. The cost of applications is much higher than it was when we applied, and the categories are more restricted. But if you are white, have money, and have desirable skills, it is still possible to be accepted. As of yet, Americans fleeing Trump’s America do not qualify for refugee status, but we will continue to monitor that situation.
There are now several categories of tourist and working visas, most of which allow for visits of up to 3 months, some for entry several times within a year, up to 3 months at a time. Word is that getting citizenship is far more complicated and much more expensive than when we became citizens. At that time in the early 1990s, we just had to have been in the country continuously for 2 years (this is after having working visas and permanent residency status). I think we also had to take a small test of some kind, agreeing to swear allegiance to the Queen of Australia, but I do remember that we weren’t even asked to sing “Advance Australia Fair,” the national anthem, of which I had memorized all the words in anticipation of having to sing it to pass the citizenship test
Advance Australia Fair!