Australian Citizenship Laws to be amended


The Turnbull Government is redrafting Australia's citizenship laws to ensure applicants are held to a higher standard and the amended requirements will apply to all new Australian citizenship applicants.

The proposed reforms include:

Applicants needing to demonstrate Competent English which would require a score of 6 in each band of IELTS or one of the alternative tests. Passport holders from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and New Zealand are usually exempt from having to meet this requirement.

Applicants to have lived as a permanent resident of Australia for a minimum of 4 years. Previously applicants could have resided on a temporary visa for 3 years and would only need to have been a permanent resident for 12 months immediately before making an application. The new citizenship laws will have a significant impact on Partner applicants granted  subclass 309 or 820 visas.

Applicants will face a far more rigorous assessment of their understanding and commitment to Australian values and will need to demonstrate that they have integrated into the Australian community. Evidence is likely to include:

  • Working or actively looking for work or seeking to educate themselves
  • Actively being involved in community or voluntary organisations
  • Paying taxes
  • Ensuring their children are attending school

Applicants who fail the citizenship test three times will be banned from applying for a period of 2 years and anyone who attempts to cheat during the citizenship test will receive an automatic ban. Applicants could also be refused if:

  • They have criminal records
  • Are involved in gangs and organised crime
  • Are breaching social security laws
  • They are involved in family violence including any AVO's



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