Australia announces sweeping changes to Citizenship laws

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made sweeping changes to Citizenship laws unveiling tighter requirements for new applicants. This announcement follows the recent scrapping of the 457 visa program for foreign workers, which was used majorly by the Indians. The 457 programme was scrapped to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.

Salient highlights

As per the new requirement, applicants for obtaining citizenship must be permanent residents for at least four years, which is three years longer than the present requirement.
The applicants must be committed to embrace “Australian values” and respect the country’s laws. The applicant should not have got involved in criminal activity, including family violence or involvement in organised crime, which is thoroughly inconsistent with Australian values.
The applicants have to pass a standalone English test which will focus heavily on respect for women and children.  English language proficiency test is meant for economic participation and integration into the Australian community and social cohesion.
The number of times an applicant can fail the citizenship is determined as three. At present, there is no restriction on the number of times an applicant can fail. In addition, applicants will be automatically disqualified if they are found cheating during the citizenship test.



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