For most people who move to Australia, their long-term goal is to receive citizenship status and it’s not hard to understand why. Australia is a country with plenty of sunshine, glorious beaches, an abundance of job opportunities and a laid-back lifestyle. Citizenship means you can reside in Australia for as long as you like. It means you are formally recognised as having Australian nationality, can vote and come and go to this country as you please and apply for an Australian passport.
Many people come to us here at Visa Solutions Australia enquiring what they need to do to achieve citizenship. There is a process and it does take time, you need to have resided here for at least four years.
Here’s some guidance to help find out whether you’re eligible to become a citizen.
The Australian Government recently announced stricter conditions to become a citizen, and that includes the introduction of a new English language test to include reading, writing and listening. The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton wants to see “more of a commitment and allegiance from those seeking to make Australia their new home”.
Youngsters under the age of 16 and those over the age of 60 will be exempt from having to prove competent English language skills.
Individuals will need to achieve a competent level, which could be equivalent to the International English Language Testing System at level 6. The test will probably focus on a good command of English language skills in the workplace or in a social everyday context.
The failure rate on the current citizenship test is higher amongst the Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian communities, and it’s widely acknowledge that this is because their native language is so different from English. This English test may make it slightly harder for them to achieve citizenship status.
Other citizenship requirements
An applicant will now need to have four years’ permanent resident status prior to their application and undertake to integrate and contribute to the Australian community. They must pledge to commit to an allegiance to the country and demonstrate this by showing that they have joined clubs, obtained regular employment and enrolled children into schools.
Three strikes and you’re out
Along with an English Language test, they will also have to take a revised online citizenship test. A person will only be able to sit it a maximum of three times and anyone found cheating will receive an automatic fail and won’t be able to re-take it for two years.
Those applying for citizenship must also be of general good character, have no history of family violence or crime. There may also be a requirement to show documents or evidence to prove this character.
A public consultation on the citizenship legislation is taking place now until June the 1st and once that’s completed it will need to be formally ratified by parliament.
Visa Solutions Australia are the experts on migration. Our multi-lingual team can offer you advice and guidance on visa, citizenship and migration issues, so why not give us a call today?