Government unveils citizenship overhaul
The Turnbull government is tightening the requirements for Australian citizenship, with applicants to face a stand-alone English test and be asked to commit to embracing Australian values.
“The headline points are these… They’ve lived here for four years as permanent residents, they speak English, share our values and are integrated… This will be good for the applicants, and good for the nation,” Mr Turnbull said today.
The prime minister and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton emphasised the focus on the nation’s values as a prime indicator of whether citizenship would be granted.
* Applicants must be permanent residents for four years before seeking citizenship (up from 12 months now).
* Must demonstrate competent English language skills through a tougher reading, writing and listening test (people with permanent or enduring incapacity, or aged under 16, exempted).
* Prospective Australian citizens must show the steps they have taken to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community (evidence of employment, membership of community organisations, school enrolment for all eligible children);
* Applicants who cheat during the citizenship test will automatically fail.
* Tougher criminal history checks, including involvement in gang activity or domestic violence.
* Wording of the citizenship pledge will change.