We are responsible for making sure that Australia meets its obligations under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
Our department does not process adoption applications. This is the role of the state and territory central authorities. State and territory central authorities assess the eligibility and suitability of people wanting to adopt a child from overseas against criteria outlined in their own legislation. They also manage the adoption application process.
Australia has arrangements with a number of countries.
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Proposed changes to Australian citizenship for children adopted from South Korea and Taiwan
On 29 May 2014, the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Intercountry Adoption) Bill 2014 was introduced in the Australian Parliament. The proposed changes in the Bill will mean that children adopted in accordance with a bilateral arrangement (the South Korea and Taiwan programs) will be granted citizenship in the same way as children adopted in accordance with the Hague Convention. This includes enabling a child to immediately apply for Australian citizenship once the adoption process is complete in South Korea or Taiwan, allowing the child to travel to Australia as an Australian citizen on an Australian passport.
More information about the Bill can be found in the Prime Minister’s second reading speech on the Australian Parliament House website. The Australian Central Authority is preparing information to provide to affected families once the proposed changes take effect.
Meetings with Taiwan and South Korea adoption agencies
On 26 May 2014, representatives of the Australian Central Authority attended the Annual Taiwan Adoption Agents Meeting by teleconference. More information about this meeting can be found on the Taiwan page.
On 10 June 2014, representatives of the Australian Central Authority met with representatives of Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) in Korea via video conference. More information about this meeting can be found on the South Korea page.
These meetings assist in maintaining good relations between Australia and our partner countries.
South Africa-Australia Intercountry Adoption Program opens
On 5 May 2014, the Prime Minister and Attorney-General announced the commencement of a new intercountry adoption program with South Africa. Information about the announcement can be found on the Prime Minister of Australia website.
South African children in need of adoption have complex medical and health needs. The program will, at least initially, be small. More information about the program can be found on the South Africa page.
Country programs update
The Australian Central Authority has recently received advice about the number of Australian files that can be submitted to South Korea and Thailand in 2014. More information on Australia’s 2014 file assignments can be found on the South Korea and Thailand pages.
Automatic recognition of adoptions from Taiwan and South Korea
On 4 March 2014, the Prime Minister and Attorney-General announced the commencement of amendments to the Family Law (Bilateral Arrangements-Intercountry Adoption) Regulations 1998. These amendments mean that families adopting through the Taiwan and South Korea programs can have their adoptions recognised in Australia, without needing to go to a state or territory court. The amendments also affect Ethiopian adoptions not yet finalised in Australia. Details about the impact of the amendments can be found on the Prime Minister of Australia website.
For more information on how these changes will apply, families should contact their state or territory central authority.