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I moved to work in Australia about 10 years ago, got there a permanent Australian visa as an employer-nominated skilled migrant, and became an Australian citizen by conferral about four years ago from now.

A couple of weeks after making the Australian citizenship pledge and getting my Australian citizenship certificate and Australian passport I moved to Europe, and I have never been back to Australia since then.

My question is in the title of this post. I am asking this question because I am getting worried that my Australian citizenship might be revoked. The source of my worries is that I vaguely remember reading an article saying something like, "Those who obtain Australian citizenship merely for convenience of travel and do not intend to permanently live in Australia can be stripped of their Australian citizenship." I read that article many years ago and am unable to find it now.

I did research on the Internet, but have been unable to find a definite answer. On the one hand, I found no mentions whatsoever of people stripped of Australian citizenship just for a long period of absence from Australia, and I found no mentions of any requirements to stay in Australia in order to retain Australian citizenship. On the other hand, there seems to be a legal avenue to strip people like me of Australian citizenship: I recall that I had to explicitly confirm in my citizenship application that I intended to permanently reside in Australia, and I am afraid that moving to Europe from Australia just a couple of weeks after getting Australian citizenship might be seen as strong evidence that I lied about my intent to permanently reside in Australia. Many sources on the Internet say that Australian citizenship can be revoked in cases of false or misleading information in the citizenship application.

The actual reason for moving to Europe was that I had a good job offer from there, had been struggling already for about half a year to find a good job in Australia, did not want to take a low-skilled job like a salesperson at Coles or have a long unemployment gap in my CV, and was running out of my savings. I never had plans to permanently reside in Europe, and I accepted the European offer just to avoid a long interruption of my career as a highly skilled worker, to fix my finances, and to buy some time to figure out how to develop my career further.

It is very important to me to retain Australian citizenship, especially given that my career prospects in Europe do not look good and that I am unlikely to get a permanent residence permit in Europe in the foreseeable future. I have retained citizenship of my country of origin, so I am a dual citizen, but my country of origin is a poorly developed country whose cultural values I do not share, and I do not want to end up living there at all. I consider Australia my home, so to speak.

So I would be very thankful for any information regarding my question stated in the title of this post.

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Not normally

The loss of citizenship is dealt with in Part 2 Division 3 of the Citizenship Act 2007. s32A contains a summary of the 5 ways it can happen:

There are 5 ways in which you can cease to be an Australian citizen:

  • you may renounce your Australian citizenship: see section 33; or

  • if you did not automatically become an Australian citizen, the Minister can revoke your citizenship in circumstances involving offences or fraud: see section 34; or

  • if you did not automatically become an Australian citizen and the Minister exercised the power under subsection 22A(1A) or 22B(1A), the Minister can revoke your citizenship in circumstances involving a failure to comply with special residence requirements: see section 34A; or

  • you engage in various kinds of conduct inconsistent with allegiance to Australia: see sections 33AA, 35 and 35A; or

  • if you are the child of a responsible parent who ceases to be an Australian citizen, the Minister can revoke your citizenship in some situations: see section 36.

Assuming that you went through the normal process of gaining citizenship (i.e. you weren’t given special residence requirements) mere absence from the country for any length of time doesn’t end your citizenship.

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    The special residence requirements cover people who were granted work related waivers to the "22 General residence requirement," which requires residence in Australia before naturalization. The waivers are available to people who have: 22A(1A) special skills needed so immediately that they do not have time to fulfill the residence requirements; or, 22B(1A) a job that requires regular travel outside Australia, preventing them from satisfying the general residence requirement. From his description, it seems the OP is not in either category. – Just a guy Dec 11 '19 at 21:07
  • Thanks a lot. My concern is about this: the Minister can revoke your citizenship in circumstances involving offences or fraud. Might the Australian authorities consider it fraud that I stated in my citizenship application that I intended to permanently reside in Australia, in view of the fact that I departed Australia just two weeks after gaining Australian citizenship and have been continuously living in Europe since then? – Angler Fish Dec 12 '19 at 13:01
  • @AnglerFish Until 1958 it was possible after 7 years, but was repealed. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_nationality_law ; Parliament discussion don't meantion this topic at all aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/… ; intend to reside in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia. is probably the statement you remember. Changed circumstances later will probably not be considerd fraud. – Mark Johnson Dec 12 '19 at 13:55
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    @AnglerFish if what you stated was truly your intention at the time, it wasn’t fraud. – Dale M Dec 12 '19 at 18:18

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