On the 20 April 2017 the Prime Minister, the Honourable Mr Malcolm Turnbull alongside the Honourable Mr Peter Dutton announced significant changes to the requirements of Australian Citizenship applications.
These changes include:
Applicant’s need to have lived in Australia as a Permanent Resident for a minimum period of at least four years (the residency requirement);
Applicant’s will need to provide evidence of an English language test which will assess the reading, writing, listening and speaking aspects of the language;
Applicant’s will need to show evidence of their commitment to integrating into the Australian community.
Further changes include:
A revised and re-vamped Australian Citizenship test which has a focus on Australian values and responsibilities;
A maximum limit of three times that an applicant is able to fail the Citizenship test;
An automatic fail for applicants who are caught cheating during the Citizenship test
Australian Citizenship Residency Requirement
Previously, the residency requirement for Citizenship applicants was to show at least four years of lawful residence in Australia, with at least one year as a Australian Permanent Resident, the resident requirement will now be amended to require at least 4 years of Permanent Residency in Australia prior to being eligible for Citizenship.
The Residency Requirement changes will affect people who have entered Australia on temporary visas and accumulated their four years in Australia and were ready to apply for Citizenship after being in Australia as a Permanent Resident for at least one year.
When do the changes come into effect?
There is a range of confusion surrounding the effect date for the recently announced Citizenship changes however the new legislation is still subject to being passed in the Australian parliament.
There is a possibility that the Australian parliament could reject the changes and/or propose amendments to the legislation that is being passed. If this was to happen, the existing requirements may come back into effect until the legislation is passed in the Parliament.
As it currently stands, there is great uncertainty surrounding the effect of these changes and it is expected that certain applications may be eligible for certain exceptions.