Immigration Update – August 2018

The month of August in 2018 has brought fresh government developments in immigration.

Citizenship hopefuls should be aware that the Federal Government’s controversial citizenship bill will be back in Parliament, after being struck down last year.

Its proposed reforms would add more hurdles for would-be Australian citizens to clear, such as a stand-alone English test and an increased number of years of permanent residency required.

States and Territories have also updated their skilled migration occupation lists and nomination requirements. See a list of changes below.

Federal Government brings back citizenship Bill

The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment is back on the menu.

This Spring, Parliament will be looking at and debating the Bill. The Government plans to tweak some of the more contentious parts of the original Bill, such as lowering the level of English required from competent to a lesser level.

If it makes a successful journey through Parliament and becomes law, Permanent Residency (PR) holders will have to meet new requirements when applying for citizenship.

These may include:

  • An increase of the compulsory period of permanent residency to at least 4 years, before applying for citizenship
  • Requiring applicants to sign an “Australian Value Statement” as well as demonstrating how they’ve integrated into Australia, in line with those values
  • Requiring applicants to provide evidence of English skills
  • Renaming the Pledge of Commitment to a Pledge of Allegiance, which will be compulsory for applicants aged 16 and over.

The Bill will introduce a number of conditions around this. For instance, a discretionary power to cancel citizenship approvals of people who do not take the Pledge within 12 months.

While the Bill is still some time away, it is a good idea for current Permanent Residency (PR) holders interested in Australian citizenship to keep in mind that the Government is planning significant new changes.

State Updates of Skilled Migration Lists

Several states have updated their skilled migration lists:

  • Tasmania has added Sales and Marketing Manager, Speech Pathologist and ICT Business Analyst to TSOL (Tasmanian Skilled Occupations List)
  • South Australia has an updated list, released on 16 August, of its State-Nominated and Supplementary Skilled List
  • New South Wales’ Priority Skilled Occupations List for sc. 190 visas and the Regional Skilled Occupations list for sc. 489 visas were updated in July
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