On 20 April 2017 the Australian Government announced changes to the eligibility for applying for Australian citizenship. This included tougher English language requirements and an increased period of time as a permanent resident in Australia for citizenship by conferral. At the time of the announcement it was intended that the new requirements would apply to all applications lodged after that date.
However, the Government were unable to pass the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 in its current form and the government has now announced that it will seek further amendments to be introduced on 1 July 2018. This will include:
increasing the general residence requirement – requiring a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to application for citizenship with no more than one year spent outside Australia during that period
completing a separate English language test - demonstrating English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at the modest level
strengthening the Australian values statement
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.
Therefore permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship before 1 July 2018 are recommended to lodge their citizenship applications as soon as they are eligible. At Supra Legal we can assist you with any such application.