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New Australian citizenship requirements: major changes make it more difficult to become an Australian

New Australian citizenship man showing passport

Updated: 23 October, 2020

The government wants to implement new and tougher Australian citizenship requirements. These reforms were presented in Bill 2017 and were defeated in the Senate. However, the Government has been working on a revised version, but there is no date yet as to when the revised Bill would be brought again for a debate in Parliament.

If approved by the Parliament, Australian citizenship will be more difficult to get.

Australian values are now at the core of the citizenship application process. The government states that Australian citizenship is a privilege and will be granted only to applicants who embrace Australian values, respect the laws, work hard, and integrate into Australian society.

Here are the new proposed rules (subject to the passage of legislation):

New Australian citizenship: residency requirement

If approved by the Parliament, applicants for Australian citizenship will need to have a minimum of four years of permanent residency immediately prior to their application for citizenship (as opposed to 1 year right now) with no more than one year spent outside Australia during that period.

New Australian citizenship: English language test

If approved by the Parliament, all applicants will have to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language by passing a stand-alone English test which will include speaking, listening, reading and writing components. Applicants must pass this English language test before taking the citizenship test. Applicants must pass this English language test at the modest level before applying for citizenship by conferral.

New Australian citizenship: citizenship test

UPDATE: Since writing this article, the government has approved the new citizenship test. So, effective on and after November 15th, 2020, the new updated Australian Citizenship Test includes the following changes:
‣ revised questions
‣ new questions on Australian values
‣ a new requirement that all 5 questions on Australian values must be answered correctly. A test result of at least 75 per cent overall is required to pass the test
‣ Applicants will be tested on the testable section only of the recently updated test resource booklet Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond

Also, under the current system, citizenship applications are rejected if the applicant was convicted of a serious offence. The government now views this as insufficient. The new test will look deeper into the applicant’s history for all offences, including minor ones, which are not acceptable by the standard Australian values, such as welfare abuse.

New Australian citizenship: demonstration of integration

If approved by the Parliament, applicants will have to prove that they have integrated into Australian society. They will be required to produce evidence of integration, such as proof of tax payments, school enrolment for children, employment, and club memberships.

For example, the government wants to see proof that applicants who are of working age have actually worked and that every applicant’s child of school age has been taking advantage of the great Australian education system and attended school (instead of, for example, being involved in gang violence).

New Australian citizenship: citizenship test attempts limited

If approved by the Parliament, the new rules stipulate that after 3 citizenship test failures, the applicant must wait 2 years before retaking the test (the current system allowed applicants to retake the test as many times as they wanted).

As well, applicants who cheat during their test will be denied citizenship.

Are you preparing for the new updated Australian Citizenship Test? Our Australian Citizenship Test Training Program is up-to-date and will help you pass your test first time.

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