The subject of Australian Citizenship has been a bone of contention for the Australian Government who has been trying to introduce changes to the Australian citizenship law that, amongst other things, would see permanent residents waiting for a longer period before they can apply for citizenship.
The Australian Government announced an overhaul of the Australian citizenship law in April 2017 when it proposed a standalone English language test and increased the waiting period for permanent residents before they would become eligible to apply for citizenship.
Owing to the opposition from other political parties within Australia however, the law couldn’t be passed.
Proposed changes To The Australian Citizenship Test in 2019
Under the proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship test currently under consideration, the Australian government wants migrants to prove competent English proficiency by securing at least five bands on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.
Changes have also been proposed in the general residence requirement. Currently, migrants who have lived in Australia for four years with at least one year as permanent residents can apply for citizenship. However, the government wants to increase the period of stay as a permanent resident to a minimum four years regardless of the time spent in Australia before acquiring permanent residency.
A number of other Australian political parties are staunchly opposed to some of the proposed changes, particularly the introduction of a stand-alone English language test, so these proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship tests are not yet set in stone, however as we progress through 2019, we might see some further changes,
With Labor and Greens’ intransigent position against any changes in the general residence and English language requirements and the Central Alliance yet to be convinced on the critical elements of the Bill, the Government would need almost all the crossbench senators to pass these changes through the upper house.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s slightly crazy Bill that sought to make migrants wait eight years before they apply for Australian citizenship has thankfully been delayed.