Australian Citizenship changes continue to be a topic of interest in the media, with Peter Dutton, Minister of the Department of Home Affairs continuing efforts to win the Senate’s support for changes to citizenship laws, after the changes that were originally proposed were rejected by the Senate in October last year.
Currently, citizenship applicants don’t need to pass an English language test but those who are able to pass the citizenship test are considered to have the fluency requirements to achieve a Level 4 under the International English Language Testing Scheme (IELTS).
Mr Dutton originally proposed changes for citizenship applicants to sit a stand-alone English language test of their reading, writing and speaking skills in an examination format with limited time to complete each component, and achieve a more challenging Level 6. However, after this was rejected by the Senate, Mr Dutton reduced the difficulty to a Level 5 to try and secure the Senate’s support.
The amended legislation is yet to be presented in parliament. The debate has recently been continued by Mr Dutton in his recent speech to the National Press club, which reinforced the importance of strengthened English language requirements in the steps to acquire citizenship.
Mr Dutton said, “I can assure you that the Government remains committed to this reform and will work with the crossbench on the basis of a new package of measures, flagged at the end of last year.”
The sentiment was reinforced by Citizenship Minister, Alan Tudge, who showed support for toughening English language requirements as a way of encouraging greater integration into society. The Government expects to finalise the new citizenship laws may change from 1 July 2018. To stay updated, register for our newsletter by emailing [email protected]
Am I eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship?
If the citizenship laws change from 1 July 2018, it may become more difficult to apply for citizenship. We therefore encourage those who have been permanent residents for at least a year to find out if they are eligible for citizenship under the current legislation and if so, to apply without delay.