Australian Citizenship Requirements

by mapadmin : April 24th, 2017
Australian Citizenship Requirements

How will changes to Australian Citizenship Requirements affects your application for citizenship?

Australia is a highly successful multicultural society, however having reached a 120 year high of 28% of Australians born outside Australia, the Australian Government has announced changes to Australian Citizenship requirements.

“Citizenship is at the heart of our national identity. It is the foundation of our democracy. We must ensure that our citizenship program is conducted in our national interest,” Malcolm Turnbull has said.

Malcolm Turnbull has announced citizenship reforms which apply to applications received on or after 20 April 2017, with new citizenship legislation being introduced by the end of 2017.

The days of applying for Australian citizenship after four years of residence including one year as a Permanent Resident are over. Read on to find out how these changes will impact your application for Citizenship.

Changes to Australian Citizenship Requirements

Changes to Australian Citizenship requirements have been made which will affect you if you apply for Australian citizenship on or after 20 April 2017.

General Residence Requirement

The Residence Requirement has been increased to require a minimum of four years of permanent residence immediately before applying for citizenship.

You will need to live in Australia holding a Permanent Residency visa for four years before applying for Australian Citizenship.

English Language Testing

The new requirements have significantly raised the bar for English language skills, requiring competent English, rather than the basic English skills which are tested through the current Australian Citizenship Test.

To be eligible for Australian Citizenship you will need to demonstrate competent English. You will need to do this through achieving a minimum level of competent English in a separate upfront English language test prior to applying for citizenship (e.g. IELTS, PTE).

There will be some exemptions from this requirement, including applicants over 60 or under 16 years of age, and people with an enduring permanent mental or physical incapacity.

Strengthening the Citizenship Test

The strengthened citizenship will focus on allegiance to Australia and Australian values including:

  • Democratic Beliefs;
  • Freedoms;
  • Equality;
  • Integration.

Additional questions about Australian values and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian Citizenship will be added to the test. You can take the current test here. If you cannot pass the test in three attempts you will face a two year ban before re-sitting the test. There will no longer be a course based test alternative.

Integration into the Australian Community

To be eligible for Australian Citizenship you will need to provide documentary evidence that you have integrated into the Australian community during your four year period of Permanent Residence.

This may include evidence of work, contribution to the community through involvement or volunteering, payment of taxes and adherence to social security laws and evidence that your children attend school.

Australian Values Statement

To be eligible for Australian Citizenship you will need to agree to the Australian Values Statement which affirms Australian values based on Respect, Freedom and Equality.

The statement requires new Australian Citizens to pledge and affirm:

‘loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect,
and whose laws I will uphold and obey’.

The Pledge of Commitment

The Pledge of Commitment to Australia is being amended.

More citizenship applicants will be required to make the pledge at a Citizenship Ceremony, including applicants born in Papua, applicants who are children of a former citizen, and stateless applicants.

Exemptions due to physical or mental incapacity and exemptions for applicants under the age of 16 will remain.

Even prior to introduction of legislation, the government has clearly stated that the changes requirements will apply to citizenship applications lodged from 20 April 2017.

If you are contemplating applying now or in the future for citizenship, it is worth seeking expert advice regarding the opportunities and risks associated with the timeframe of your application.

Get in touch to talk about how the changes effect you, and to make a plan for your Citizenship application.

About MyAusPath

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At MyAusPath we are here to give you friendly, efficient service to make the complex and constantly changing Australian visa application requirements simple and stress free for clients. We’d love to chat about how we can help you.

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