IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Australian officials announced Wednesday that they will make it more difficult to obtain Australian citizenship.
What does the change mean? Applicants for citizenship will be required to meet more difficult English-language requirements, will need to have lived in Australia for at least four years as a permanent resident and will be given a revamped test that includes questions aimed at assessing their commitment to Australian “values and responsibilities,” among other changes.
Background: Officials made the announcement closely after unveiling a plan to abolish the Subclass 457 Temporary Skilled Work visa programme and replace it with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa stream that will more tightly control the hiring of foreign workers. Officials said the citizenship application changes will include:
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said that “conduct that is inconsistent with Australian values” would be counted against applicants in the citizenship process. Such activity may include criminal activity, including domestic violence and involvement in gangs or organised crime.
BAL Analysis: Both the visa and citizenship changes reflect the Turnbull Government’s renewed emphasis on promoting Australian workers and values. Taken together, the changes will make it more difficult for foreign nationals to work and obtain citizenship in Australia. BAL is in ongoing consultation with the Government to ensure that client needs and requirements are protected to the maximum extent possible.
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