On 15 June 2017 the bill for proposed changes to Australian citizenship requirements was released. It is currently being debated in the House of Representatives. In addition to the English requirements (Competent English) and Residency requirement (4 years residence as a permanent resident), a number of proposed changes likely to cause controversy include:
Citizenship by Descent
Applicants must be of good character irrespective of their age. The age limit of “over 18” is removed from the requirement to be of good character.
Citizenship by Birth
New restrictions are in place for eligibility for children born in Australia to become citizens at the age of 10. These include the child’s lawfulness in Australia during the 10 years, the child’s visa validity if the child was born overseas, and lawfulness of the child’s parents’ visa before the birth of the child.
Cancellation of Approval
The Minister has mandatory cancellation powers in relation to Citizenship, if; the applicant’s identity is unsatisfactory, the applicant is the subject to an adverse security assessment, or the applicant is convicted of a national security offence.
The Minister also has discretionary cancellation powers if; the approval is unlikely based on new information received, or the applicant failed to take the pledge within 12 months of the approval.
Revocation of Citizenship
The Minister may revoke a person’s Australian citizenship if he is satisfied that the approval should not have been given. However the Minister cannot decide to revoke the person’s Australian citizenship, if in doing so, the decision will result in the person becoming not a national or citizen of any country.
In addition, the Minister’s revocation powers extend to situations where a person’s citizenship was obtained as a result of fraud, misrepresentation, or where the revocation would be in the public interest.
After the first reading in the House of Representatives, the Labour party met and decided that it will vote against the Government’s proposed changes, particularly the English and residency requirements. See this SBS article for further details.
Contact SCA Connect today for an expert advice on strategic visa solutions to address the recent and upcoming legislative changes to migration.