Opinion Number. 1081

Subject

NATURALIZATION REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATE OF NATURALIZATION WHERE PERSON IS RESIDENT OUT OF HER MAJESTY'S DOMINIONS FOR SEVEN YEARS: DISCRETION OF GOVERNOR-GENERAL REGARDING CONTINUANCE OF CERTIFICATE

Key Legislation

NATIONALITY ACT 1920, s. 12 (2) (d)

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of Home and Territories

The Secretary, Department of Home and Territories, has forwarded me the following memorandum for advice:

A man named A.B. of Russian origin, was naturalized by the Commonwealth in March 1911, but immediately afterwards left Sydney for Russia. In February 1915, he left Russia for Sweden on business matters, and in explanation of this visit he states:

My mission to Sweden was to carry through certain contracts in connection with national defence which the said firms had entered into with the then Russian Government.

  1. Mr B. arrived in London in September 1915, also on business, and departed therefrom in February 1916, returning to Sweden. Mr B. remained there until the end of 1919, when he again proceeded, on business, to London, where he has apparently continued to reside. This gentleman desires to return to Sydney, and wishes to know whether, in view of the passing of the Nationality Act 1920, the certificate of naturalization granted to him by the Commonwealth is still valid.
  2. In this connection, please see section 12 of the Nationality Act 1920, sub-section (2) (d), which reads:
  3. (2) Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions the Governor-General shall by order revoke a certificate of naturalization granted by him in any case in which he is satisfied that the person to whom the certificate was granted either-
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    (d) has since the date of the grant of the certificate been for a period of not less than seven years ordinarily resident out of His Majesty's dominions otherwise than as a representative of a British subject, firm or company carrying on business, or an institution established, in His Majesty's dominions, or in the service of the

    Crown, and has not maintained substantial connexion with His Majesty's dominions.

  4. Attention is invited to the following words in paragraph (d): 'ordinarily resident' and 'maintained substantial connexion with His Majesty's dominions' and to the concluding portion of sub-section (2) beginning: 'and that (in any case) the continuance of the certificate is not conducive to the public good'.
  5. Your early advice will be much appreciated.

The papers supplied to me do not state whether A.B. was, during his absence in Russia and Sweden, employed as the representative of a British subject, firm or company carrying on business, or an institution established in His Majesty's dominions. Such employment would relieve him of liability to denaturalization under paragraph (d) of section 12 (2) of the Nationality Act 1920. The firms referred to by B. are not specified.

There is nothing in the above minute to show what connection, apart from his visit to London in 1915, he maintained with His Majesty's dominions during his absence therefrom.

So far as residence is concerned I think on the facts stated that B. has since the date of the grant of his certificate been for a period of not less than seven years ordinarily resident out of His Majesty's dominions.

The question whether the continuance of B.'s certificate is conducive to the public good is one within the discretion of the Governor-General. Unless and until action under section 12 is taken Mr B.'s certificate remains valid and effectual in the Commonwealth.

[Vol. 17, p.336]