The Australian Government is planning to implement the changes in Australian citizenship by introducing some changes in the Australian citizenship law that will make permanent residents to wait longer and require evidence of their English proficiency before they can apply for Australian Citizenship.
The government of Australia announced the refurbish of the citizenship law in April 2017 when it proposed the high score in the English language test and increased the waiting period for permanent residents before becoming eligible for Australian citizenship. However, due to opposition from the political parties the law couldn’t be passed so far.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year mentioned the citizenship bill for introduction and passage in the spring sittings.
However, the Government did not bring the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (strengthening the requirements for Australian Citizenship and other measures) bill for discussion in parliament.
The applicants applying for Australian Citizenship earlier were required to prove competent English by securing at least 6 bands on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam in order to be eligible for Australian citizenship. Though, after fiasco in Senate, the government scaled down the English requirement to ‘moderate’, or 5 bands on IELTS.
Additionally, the changes were also proposed in the general residence requirement. As of now, the migrants who have lived in Australia for four years with at least one year as permanent residents can apply for citizenship. However, the government is planning to increase the period of stay as a permanent resident to minimum four years irrespective of the time spent in Australia before acquiring permanent residency.
The Former Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge told SBS Punjabi in June 2018 that the government was still “consulting” about the key elements of the citizenship legislation. The minister added, “We haven’t settled on the precise formula and we would still like people to have that level of English before they become citizens.”
Though, the question of language requirement hasn’t been settled yet.
Some level of English is good for migrants as well as for the country," said Minister David Coleman to SBS Punjabi. "I'm currently considering what level that should be at."
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