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Australian permanent residents to wait longer for citizenship

Tougher evidence of integration into the Australian community to be demanded

28 May 2017. Dessie Hristova

Applicants seeking to apply for Australian citizenship will have to show four years residence in Australia as permanent resident visa holder - up from the current one year,  evidence of integration into the Australian community plus an English language test in addition to the citizenship test.


The Department describes the main changes as:


  • Requiring all applicants to pass a stand-alone English test, involving reading, writing, listening and speaking;
  • Requiring applicants to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least four years (instead of one year at present);
  • Strengthening the citizenship test itself with new and more meaningful questions that assess an applicant's understanding of - and commitment to - our shared values and responsibilities;
  • Requiring applicants to show the steps they have taken to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community. Examples would include evidence of employment, membership of community organisations and school enrolment for all eligible children;
  • Limiting the number of times an applicant can fail the citizenship test to three (at present there is no limit to the number of times an applicant can fail the test);
  • Introducing an automatic fail for applicants who cheat during the citizenship test.


The Department of Immigration website states in bold that these proposed changes affect the applications lodged on or after 20 April 2017 but in the small print states that these proposed changes are in fact subject to passage of legislation to enact the new measures. This lack of legislation may be grounds to challenge the new rules.


If you would like to know more about the changes and your options please complete our webform and Sam or Dessie will get back to you for a 15-minute chat. Alternatively, book a one hour consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and receipt of advice on your unique circumstances.

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