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Australian Citizenship Law Changes mean Tougher Tests for Migrants

21 April 2017

The Federal Government has announced changes to the nation’s citizenship laws, with the Prime Minister declaring that the new arrivals must possess ‘Australian values’ and prove their commitment to the nation.

The new measures would see migrants facing a tougher citizenship test which shall assess their commitment to Australia and their attitudes to religious freedom and gender equality. 

Further, those with a history of family violence or organized crime shall be barred from being granted Australian citizenship. 

In term of the strengthening of the requirements to become an Australian citizen. 

The English language test is one method that will also be reintroduced as much more stringent, which will now include; reading, writing and listening components.
If the applicants fail the test three times, they will have to wait another two years before they can arrange to sit another test again. 

The Government is also Increasing the general residence requirement, which means an applicant for Australian citizenship will need to demonstrate a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship. As well as the Introduction of a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community

Strengthening the Pledge of commitment as a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to refer to allegiance to Australia; and extending the requirement for individuals aged 16 years and over to make the Pledge to all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption. They have also strengthened the Australian Values Statement to include reference of allegiance to Australia and require applicants to make an undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community, such as employment and providing evidence that their children are attending school.

Subject to the passage of legislation required to enact some of the measures, the changes will come into effect, and apply to applications made from the date of the Government's announcement on 20 April 2017.

The changes will not apply to applications made before 20 April 2017 (that is, the current rules will continue to apply to applications made before 20 April 2017).

Australian Values

In terms of the assessment of Australian values, the Government has not decided exactly how this will be measured, but have stated they will consult with the public before deciding on a final format. 
The government has stated the test will focus heavily on respect for women and children, with possible questions about child marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton admits there is no way to stop applicants from lying about their criminal history when applying for citizenship, but would like to push for applicants to view citizenship as a ‘big prize’.

AIMS consists of a team of expert migration agents and solicitors who provide professional assistance to people who intend to migrate to Australia or Australian residents and citizens who wish to bring their family here. Whether you are seeking to study, work or establish a business in Australia, we can advise you on your options and assist you in securing the right visa.  For more information or to set up a consultation with one of our agents, give AIMS a call on 03-9078 6819 or email us at team@thinkvisa.com.au.

 

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