Australian Citizenship Test: Recent Changes

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Australian Citizenship Test: Recent Changes

Australian Citizenship Test: Recent Changes

More the 5 million people have become Australian citizens since 1949 with a record 249,000 people granted citizenship in the 2019/2020 period. Even during the pandemic, more than 84,000 people across Australia received citizenship through online ceremonies.

As part of the citizenship process, anyone wanting to become an Australian citizen needs to take the Australian citizenship test. It has been announced that as of 15th November 2020, the Australian citizenship test will change. This is the first time in over a decade that the test has been updated.

How do you become an Australian citizen?
In order to apply for Australian citizenship, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements some of which include:

-          Meeting residency requirements
-          Being over 16 years of age
-          Being of good character

Applicants must have lived in Australia for four years including 12 months as a permanent resident. In the 12 months prior to applying for citizenship, applicants must have resided in Australia for 9 out of the 12 months. Applicants may be required to supply movement records to verify they meet this criterion, those found to have not been in Australia for the minimum amount of time will be required to wait another 12 months before they can apply for citizenship again.

Once an applicant has applied for Australian citizenship, they will be required to undergo an interview with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm their identity and their understanding of Australian citizenship.

Once the interview is conducted, applicants sit the Australian citizenship test.

What is the Australian citizenship test?
The Australian citizenship test assesses the applicant’s knowledge of Australia, its people, laws, beliefs and liberties. The test is based on content from the Australian citizenship test resource booklet, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond. It is available for download from the Home Affairs website.

How does the new test differ from the old test?
Both Australian citizenship tests have 20 multiple choice questions and require applicants to obtain a score of at least 75% to pass.

The old test focuses on Australian history and government while the new test incorporates Australian values.

The new test has revised questions and five new questions based on Australian values. These questions test the applicants understanding and commitment to Australian values such as freedom of speech, mutual respect, equality of opportunity, the importance of democracy and the rule of law. 

These five questions must all be answered correctly in order to pass. 

Examples of values questions may be:

-          Why is it important that all Australian citizens vote to elect state and federal parliament?
-          In Australia, are people free to choose who they may or may not marry?

Anyone sitting the Australian citizenship test before 15 November 2020 will require a mark of at least 75% to pass. Those sitting the test on or after 15 November 2020, will need a mark of at least 75% to pass and need to answer all five questions on Australian values correctly.

Currently there are no changes to the English language or residency requirements for citizenship. However, PM Scott Morrison has hinted there may be changes to these requirements in the future.

Processing Times
The processing time on citizenship applications can be quite lengthy. While 75% of applications take around 15 months from application to decision, 90% of applications are processed within 28 months. There is then a wait of 7 – 9 months from decision to citizenship ceremony.

Travel Exemptions
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee

Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.

Becoming an Australian citizen is a privilege and with it comes responsibilities and entitlements. If you would like to learn more about becoming an Australian citizen or about travel exemptions, contact the team at Visa Solutions Australia on +61 8 9328 2664.

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