The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has announced that legislation will be introduced into Parliament on its proposed Citizenship changes in the upcoming 2018 Spring Sittings. The purpose of these reforms is to strengthen (ie. toughen) the requirements for gaining approval to become an Australian Citizen. The proposed changes to be introduced in Parliament will cover the following aspects (comments ours):
- Introduction of a new English language requirement involving completing and passing an English test (this is likely to be in the area of IELTS 5.0 (vocational English))
- Increasing the required period of permanent residence in Australia from 1 to 4 years before being eligible to apply for Citizenship (likely to have a major impact on the attractiveness of Australian migration)
- Changes to the Citizenship test designed to assess an applicant’s understanding of, and commitment to, Australian values and responsibilities
- Requirement to demonstrate an applicant’s contribution to, and efforts made, to integrate into the Australian community including employment, school attendance by the applicant’s children and membership of community organisations
- Introducing a limit to the number of times an applicant can complete the Citizenship test with a maximum of 3 attempts permitted (there is no such limit under the current provisions)
- Where an applicant is found to have cheated in the Citizenship test, they will be issued with an automatic fail
The government’s full media release can be found here.
If you are considering applying for Australian Citizenship, we would recommend that you act now to confirm your eligibility and apply as soon as possible to avoid being subject to the proposed changes, which may come into effect as early as September 2018. Once the changes are implemented, the application process will become more onerous and you may find that you no longer qualify for Citizenship, resulting in delays in your application (possibly years, especially if you have been a permanent resident for less than 4 years). It is therefore best to consider your options now and lodge your application before September 2018 if you are eligible.
For up to date advice on your eligibility to apply for Australian Citizenship and the process for applying, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide. We can prepare and lodge your application for you, ensuring that you submit a complete and correct application with the required supporting documentation, which will give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Give us a call!