Australia unveils major changes to citizenship process

Under the new law, migrants seeking Australian citizenship would have to undergo a tough English language skills test and ability to demonstrate Australian values. Turnbull said the announcements had been made in the national interest.

Created On: Apr 21, 2017 09:17 ISTModified On: Apr 21, 2017 10:45 IST

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 20 April 2017 announced that migrants seeking Australian citizenship will have to undergo tougher tests on their English language skills and ability to demonstrate Australian values.

Australia unveils major changes to citizenship process

The move is being considered as a major overhaul of its migration process. The move will make it difficult to gain citizenship.

However, the opposition Labor Party accused Turnbull of making announcements for political gain.

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Key fact and Changes include

• Under the new regime, the applicants seeking citizenship should have completed four years as a permanent resident - three years longer than at present.

• The applicant will have to demonstrate his/her support for religious freedom and gender equality

• Respect for women and children as well as domestic violence will not be allowed

• Stringent tests of English under which the applicant will have to undergo a test of their ability to read, write, speak and listen English.

• They will have to provide evidence of integration into the community like school enrolment, employment history or his/her membership of community organisations.

• The applicants will be allowed to apply only three times for the citizenship and those cheating during the test will be failed automatically.

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The move comes two days after Australia unveiled stricter visa requirements for skilled workers from overseas. Earlier on 18 April 2017, the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a press conference in Canberra announced that his government will abolish a temporary work visa facility of the country and replace it with a visa requiring better English language and work skills. This visa facility was popular among foreigners.

PM Turnbull said, the reforms will have a simple focus and that is Australian jobs and Australian values. The change was planned with an aim to attract better-skilled workers and Australians employed over cheap foreign workers brought in under the old 457 visa programme.

During the announcement, Turnbull said, people now in Australia on 457 visas will not be affected by the new arrangements.
He said, the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa and the list of occupations that qualify for a visa will be reduced from more than 200. The new visa will be limited to a two-year period and a second four-year visa will require a higher standard of English language.

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