The Australian government has implemented changes to citizenship applications that make it much tougher for people living and working Down Under to become full citizens. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has moved to put Australian values at the heart of the naturalisation process. Find out what this means for you.
The main changes to citizenship applications are the following:
- Applicants are now required to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for four years, as opposed to the previous one year requirement.
- Applicants are required to pass a stand-alone English language test, involving reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- Applicants need to show evidence of how they have integrated into Australian society – such as evidence of employment and membership in community organisations.
- Applicants are only allowed to fail the citizenship test three times – previously, there was no limit to the number of times an applicant could fail the test.
While these new rules are much stricter, relevant exemptions will apply. Those with permanent or enduring incapacity and those under 16 years of age will be exempt from some of these rules.
Get in touch with our MARA-registered Australian-based immigration experts to find out how these new rules will affect your citizenship application.
Why all the changes?
The Minister of Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, stated that the changes have been implemented to “Promote integration into the Australian community and social cohesion.”
The new reforms will also consider criminal records, including violence against women and children. Dutton further stated, “Any conduct that is inconsistent with Australian values will be considered as part of this process.”