Following the announcement by Shadow Minister Tony Burke on 18 October 2017 that the government’s citizenship bill was no longer before the senate, prospective applicants around Australia are breathing a sigh of relief. If the government wants to proceed with the bill they will now need to bring a motion to introduce it again at a later stage.
These proposed sweeping changes to the nation’s citizenship laws were announced by the government in April 2017, the proposed changes would have seen migrants facing a tougher citizenship test whereby their commitment to Australian ‘values’ would be assessed and more stringent mandatory English language testing.
This could have resulted in some applicants waiting for more than a decade before making a pledge to Australia.
The proposed changes also meant that permanent residents would have had to wait four years before applying for citizenship- instead of the one year current wait time.
While there are many homes across Australia celebrating this victory, Shadow Minister Burke encouraged eligible permanent residents to apply now in anticipation the government will try reintroducing the changes sometime soon.
It may also come as a relief to those with citizenship applications waiting to be processed as it has been indicated that processing will recommence under the current laws.
This is applicable to applications received after 20 April 2017 given that the changes were intended to operate retrospectively if passed and the government placed an entire halt on these applications.