Australian citizenship

Updates on proposed changes to Australian Citizenship 

Australian citizenship
Background

On 20 April 2017, the Federal Government announced the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (the “Bill”) with several proposed changes to the citizenship requirements and claimed that the changes deemed to effect immediately. On 18 October 2017, the Bill was rejected at the Sensate.

The revised bill may come into effect on 1 July 2018

As such, the Government confirmed that they will process the post 20 April 2017 citizenship application under the current legislation. This is a great relief to those who submit their applications after 20 April 2017 and cannot meet the new requirements. However, the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed that the Government will redraft the Bill and will come to live on 1 July 2018 subject to the passage of the legislation by the two houses.

Proposed changes

The most controversial part of the Bill was the proposal of raising the bar for a university entry level of English skill. Such a tough requirement was criticised by the Sensate committee and broader community as to disqualify the contribution of those permanent residents who only have basic competency in English. Apart from that, other proposed changes include increasing the residence requirement and increase the Minister’s power to revoke citizenship of people who do not meet the requirements in the legislation.

The table below summarises the major proposed changes to the Australian citizenship requirements:

Residence requirement English skill requirement
Current legislation You have been in AU for at least

1)      The last 4 years, on any temporary, permanent or bridging visa, with a max of 12 months

2)      The last 12 months, on a permanent visa, with a max of 3 months overseas

There is no separate English test.

 

You will complete the citizenship test in English which require a basic level of English

The Bill Must hold a permanent visa for 4 years. Do a separate test and achieve a Competent English level
(equivalent to IELTS all 6 in the four sections)
Anticipated redraft Bill We expect the redraft Bill will keep the amended requirement – Must hold a permanent visa for 4 years. We expect the requirement of English is lowered to “modest” level (equivalent to IELTS all 5 in the four sections)

 

Our advice

We anticipated that the redrafted Bill is likely affect those who are lawfully live in Australia for more than four years but their permanent residency is less than four years or those who are not able to meet the minimum English level requirement.

For those who meet the current citizenship requirements, we suggest you to apply for your citizenship as soon as possible. Our immigration professional is more than happy to assist you. Simply send us an email and we are just a click away.

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