Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment

Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment

By Leila Reypour
MARN 0848264

Following the removal of the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 from Government business, the Department has updated the information on its website.

Minister Dutton is going forward with plans to reintroduce an amended version of the Bill, with a proposed introduction date of 1 July 2018.

As a result of the proposed amendments and subject to the passage of legislation, the new requirements for citizenship will come into effect on 1 July 2018 and include:

  • increasing the general residence requirement, which means applicants for Australian citizenship will need to have a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship with no more than one year spent outside Australia during that period
  • completing a separate English language test, where applicants will need to demonstrate English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at the modest level before applying for citizenship by conferral
  • strengthening the Australian values statement to include reference to allegiance to Australia and requiring applicants to undertake to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community
  • strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship
  • a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community
  • strengthening the pledge to refer to allegiance to Australia, and extending the requirement to make the pledge to applicants aged 16 years and over for all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.

Applications made before 20 April 2017 will be assessed against the eligibility criteria current at the time of application.

Applications made before 1 July 2018 will be assessed against the eligibility criteria current at the time of application.

Changes to the criteria will take effect from 1 July 2018, if the legislation is successfully passed.

Further information is available on the Department's website