16 Jun 2017

Australian citizenship changes put forward to parliament


The Federal Parliament is now considering the Prime Minister’s proposed changes to Australian citizenship requirements announced in April this year.

The citizenship changes have become a controversial topic in the media and according to SBS News, there are concerns that one of the laws brought before Parliament will grant the Immigration Minister the power to overrule decisions by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) regarding the Department of Immigration’s citizenship refusals. The Immigration Minister already has the power to override the AAT’s decisions related to visas but not in regards to citizenship matters.

The new citizenship laws could also enforce a more stringent English language test, with applicants needing to demonstrate an English level of at least ‘competent’. This new requirement has been met with concerns by community groups with Pino Migliorino from the Federation of Ethic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) saying, “I know thousands and literally thousands of older Australians now who don’t speak English well who’ve made an enormous contribution.” 

Another issue to consider is the fact that skilled migrants already undertake English language tests when applying for a skilled visa, therefore if applying for citizenship they would be required to prove their English proficiency twice. This can unfortunately become a costly exercise for applicants.

The citizenship test may also be changed to determine how well applicants have integrated into society by judging their views on democracy, social freedoms and equality.

Migrants will also only be able to apply for citizenship if they have been a permanent resident in Australia for 4 years (instead of one year). Their willingness to integrate into Australian society will be assessed closely during this period of time – for example, by making tax payments, by being willing to work or become educated, by contributing to community or voluntary organisations and by abiding by social security laws.

We will certainly keep you updated on the whether the citizenship changes are passed by Federal parliament.

To read more about the proposed citizenship changes, read our post here. Or if you would like to find out if you are eligible for Australian citizenship, contact Immigracious at or 08 6263 4406 for a free assessment.


SBS News


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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