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  • Jenny Murphy MARN 0852535

Citizenship - Proposed Changes

Your eligibility and options to secure Australian Citizenship

On 20th April 2017 the Government attempted to change the requirements for Australian Citizenship and make the changes retrospective, to impact all applications lodged and not yet decided.

The Government was unsuccessful in passing the legislation through Parliament and as such the changes did not come into effect. However the Government has indicated they intend to try and introduce the changes to come into effect on 1 July 2018.The changes would impact applications lodged on or after 1 July 2018, subject to passing legislation.

The proposed changes 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.

The proposed changes to the residence requirement could result in a significant longer wait for applicants to be eligible for permanent residency as time spent in Australia prior to the grant of permanent residency will not count towards the required 4 years permanent residence in Australia.

The current residence requirement is:

You must:

  • have lived in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying

  • must have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application and not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, during the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months before applying.

Once clients are permanent residents, they are busy settling into Australia and often put citizenship on the long to do list that they will action once they have time. If you meet the residence requirement prior to 1 July 2018, and want to proceed with Australian Citizenship, don’t delay in applying.

If the new legislation is introduced the process will be more complex and the residence requirement significant longer for a lot of applicants.

SCA Connect can assist you in making sure your citizenship application is the top priority on your to do list today. Contact one our Consultants who can assist you further.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute immigration advice. For more detailed and case specific information or advice, please contact SCA Connect.

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