| By Leila Reypour
The government has advised that a package of reforms will apply to Citizenship applications received on or after 20 April 2017. The Government has also advised that the new Citizenship legislation for these reforms will not be introduced immediately but will be introduced by the end of 2017.
The proposed reforms include:
- Applicants passing a higher-standard English test;
- Applicants to have lived as a permanent resident of Australia for a minimum of four years (instead of the current one year requirement);
- The citizenship test being amended to include more meaningful questions that assess an applicant's understanding of and commitment to Australian values;
- Applicants being required to integrate into the Australian community, e.g. employment, being a member of a community organisation and school enrolment (for eligible children);
- Applicants who fail three attempts at the citizenship test have a two-year ban on applying for citizenship (currently there is no limit to the number of times an applicant can fail the test); and
- Applicants who attempt to cheat during the citizenship test receiving an automatic fail.
The above amended requirements will apply to all new Australian citizenship applicants.