The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 was released today in the House of Representatives.
Key aspects of the Australian Citizenship overhaul include:
• The current permanent residency requirement to be eligible for citizenship will increase from 12 months to four years;
• Applicants will be required to pass an English language test equivalent to IELTS level 6 equivalent, or a “competent” English language proficiency level;
EXEMPTIONS for the English Language: People aged over 60 and children under 16 will be exempt, as will those with hearing, speech or sight impairments or permanent or enduring physical or mental incapacity.
• The government will make changes to the pledge of Australian citizenship and add questions to the current test aimed at cracking down on inappropriate attitudes on issues such as violence against women, child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, etc;
• Applicants must provide evidence of integration including employment, tax payments and schooling for children
Other proposed changes include:
• Renaming the ‘pledge of commitment’ to the ‘pledge of allegiance’;
• Allowing a person to be barred for two years if the minister has refused to approve them becoming a citizen on grounds other than failing to meet the residence requirement; and
• Requiring all applicants to be of good character to be eligible for Australian citizenship.
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