Immigration policy update

Saurabh Gupta

The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (the Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 15 June 2017. After the proposed amendments by the government on 18 October 2017, the new requirements for citizenship will come into effect on 1 July 2018.
The new requirements are as follows:
• Applicants for Australian citizenship need to have a minimum of four (4) years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship with no more than one year spent outside Australia during that period;
• Applicants for Australian citizenship need to demonstrate English language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing at the modest level before applying for citizenship by conferral;
• Strengthening the Australian values statement to include reference to loyalty to Australia and requiring Australian citizenship applicants to undertake to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community;
• The test for Australian citizenship will be strengthened and it will include new test questions about Australian values and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship;
• The new Australian citizenship test will extend the requirement to make the pledge to applicants aged 16 years and over for all streams of citizenship by application. This application includes citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.