What’s Happening with the Citizenship Bill?

Labor has opposed the citizenship bill in objection to the requirement for citizens to meet a competent English proficiency level. This means that this issue will move on to the Senate crossbench, and it is reported that the Bill is likely to receive support to move forward.

The English requirement will definitely be a challenge for many and result in many permanent residents being unable to attain citizenship. Competent English should not be a requirement for citizenship; it is not an indicator of if a person is a contributive and beneficial addition to Australia. Achieving competent English requires meeting a score level for all modules (speaking, listening, writing, reading). Not every job requires higher English skills – this requirement does not take into account people who are otherwise highly skilled. A person who may not have the required English proficiency level may struggle with writing, for example, but is otherwise entrepreneurial, and/or may be able to establish business ties overseas for Australia’s benefit. In integrating with the Australian community, a competent level of English is higher than necessary to communicate with another English speaker and not being able to reach those scores does not necessarily mean that that person would not be able to. It definitely cannot tell you if a person is committed to Australia and Australian values.

Quite possibly a very large group of people will live in Australia for the majority of their lives and never be able to say “I’m Australian”. We can only hope that these changes will not happen.


Read: Resident Return Visa

Read: Why Become an Australian Citizen?


Related Articles:

SMH: Danger of over-reach on citizenship changes

SMH: World expert rebuffs Peter Dutton over English language test ‘red herring’

The Australian: Labor loses it over language tests for new citizens

The Australian: Citizenship test shake-up: What is competent English

International Business Times: What happened to Australia’s proposed citizenship

The Citizenship Bill, if Passed..

For all citizenship applications on and from 20 April 2017, the applicant must 

  • Hold permanent residency for at least four years before they can apply for citizenship
  • In their time as a permanent resident, cannot have spent more than 365 days overseas
  • Provide evidence of competent English language proficiency – the scores for competent English for citizenship is likely to be the same as that which is required under the GSM scheme
  • Sign Australian Values Statement
  • Demonstrate having integrated into the Australian community and in a manner that is consistent with Australian values –
    • This may include evidence of the applicant’s
      • employment status
      • study being undertaken
      • involvement in community groups
      • children’s enrolment in school
    • However if the applicant has a history of criminal activity or has submitted fraudulent evidence, this would work against their application
  • Pass the citizenship test within three tries, have complied to the rules regarding the test and cannot have found to have cheated during the test

Continue reading “The Citizenship Bill, if Passed..”

Tougher Requirements for Citizenship Applications

This week has been full of upheaval, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement of the reformation of employer sponsored visa programmes and the changes in the occupation lists.

Today, Australia received another unexpected announcement; the Australian citizenship application now has higher requirements; the new requirements will apply to all new applications for Australian citizenship.

Continue reading “Tougher Requirements for Citizenship Applications”