20 Apr 2017

Australian citizenship changes announced

Yesterday afternoon Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull announced several changes to the requirements to become an Australian citizen.

Permanent residents seeking to obtain citizenship will be impacted by the new requirements, as the Government stated the changes will apply to any applications received from today.

Watch the video announcement on the Immigracious LinkedIn page linked here.

What are the changes?

4 years permanent residence period required

– Citizenship applicants will need to have lived in Australia under a permanent residence visa for 4 years instead of 1 year

– Time spent in Australia on a temporary visa will no longer count towards the residence period

– Applicants must have spent a maximum of 1 year outside of Australia during the residence period

Introduction of an English language test

– Applicants will need to undertake an English language test and achieve a level of ‘competent’ English, rather than ‘basic’. We understand this may require an overall International English Language Test Score (IELTS) of 6.

– Exemptions to apply for those over 60 or under 16 years of age at the time of application and those with an enduring or permanent mental or physical incapacity

Citizenship test to assess ‘Australian values’

– The new citizenship test questions will assess the applicant’s allegiance to Australia, particularly if the applicant holds multiple citizenships

– Test questions will seek to confirm the applicant’s values by assessing views on democracy, social freedoms, equality and integration into Australian society

– Australian value statements will also be incorporated into citizenship application forms

Applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community

– Documentation and supporting information will need to be provided to demonstrate the applicant’s integration into Australian society – for example, tax payments, a willingness to work or educate themselves, contributions to community or voluntary organisations, and adherence to social security.

-There will be an increased focus on applicants’ “character” and assessments for “conduct consistent with Australian values” with a focus on domestic or family violence, criminality and involvement in gangs and organised crime

What if I have already lodged my citizenship application? 

If you had lodged your Australian citizenship application prior to 20 April 2017, you will not be affected by these changes. The new citizenship requirements will only apply to any applications received on and after this date.

Assistance with your citizenship application

Applicants will have a maximum of three attempts to pass the citizenship test and if refused, applicants can only reapply after a period of 2 years.

Permanent residents interested in applying for Australian citizenship are encouraged to contact Immigracious to discuss how we can assist with your citizenship application in accordance with the Government’s changes.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Immigracious on
08 6263 4406 or

Source: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Visas


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