• Citizenship Requirement Reforms Proposed
  • May 11, 2017
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Australian Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection have proposed reforms restricting requirements for Australian citizenship, including extending the requirement of permanent residency to four years from the current requirement of 12 months, adding new questions to the citizenship test and introducing an English language proficiency test to encompass reading, writing, listening and speaking evaluations. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has indicated that these amendments should be introduced by the end of 2017.

    Proposed Reforms

    The following are among the key proposed reforms to citizenship requirements:
    • Increasing the permanent residency requirement to four years in Australia, up from the current requirement of 12 months;
    • Adding more questions to assess applicants’ understanding of and commitment to Australian shared values and responsibilities;
    • Adding a requirement for applicants to provide examples of the steps they have taken to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community, such as employment, membership in community organizations and enrollment of eligible children in school;
    • Introduction of an English language proficiency test to encompass reading, writing, listening and speaking evaluations;
    • Limiting the number of times an applicant can fail the citizenship test to three - there is currently no limit; and
    • Introducing an automatic failing result for applicants who are found to have cheated during the citizenship test.
    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    The proposed changes would make it harder for foreign nationals to become citizens in Australia based on a longer period of residence (as a permanent resident) in Australia.