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Australian Citizenship legislative changes - Test, Values, Residence Requirement and More

The Australian Government is strengthening the requirements to become an Australian citizen, by:

• Increasing the general residence requirement, to a minimum of four (4) years permanent residence (instead of current 1 year) immediately prior to their application for citizenship;

• Introducing an English language test, which means applicants will need to demonstrate competent English language (equivalent to IELTS 6 in each component) listening, speaking, reading and writing skills before being able to sit the citizenship test;

• Strengthening the Australian Values Statement in application forms for visas and citizenship to include reference to allegiance to Australia and require applicants to make an undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community;

• Strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values, and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship;

• Introducing a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community. Applicants will need to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community by providing, for example, documentation to the effect that people who can work are working, or are actively looking for work or seeking to educate themselves; that people are contributing to the community by being actively involved in community or voluntary organisations; that people are properly paying their taxes and ensuring their children are being educated. Applicants’ criminal records and adherence to social security laws are also relevant; and

Dual Nationality will still be allowed subject to the other country's requirements.

The Government will introduce new citizenship related legislation into the Parliament, informed by responses to this paper, by the end of 2017. The package of reforms will apply to applications received on or after the Government’s announcement on 20 April 2017.