Migrants will face tough new questions on cultural values under a major shake-up of Australia’s Citizenship test.
“New migrants must prove their commitment to the nation and embrace Australian values,” declared Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Some of the key factors that will be considered regarding the new laws include:
- Increasing the application process for permanent residents’ eligibility for citizenship to four years
- Introduce more components for English language test
- Banning of migrants with a history of organised crime or family violence
Mr Turnbull explained that the reason for tightening the test was to ensure that the nation did not harbour criminals.
Although Labour described the new laws as satisfaction to the right wing of the Liberal Party, the opposition leader Bill Shorten said many of the questions were reasonable.
The new laws will see migrants undergo tougher citizenship test which will assess their attitudes to gender equality and religious freedom, while observing their commitment to Australia.
Applicants must demonstrate how they have integrated into the Australian community by showing proof that their children are getting better education, by providing evidence that they are employed or even by joining clubs.
Also, the government may deny citizenship to applicants who have a history of organised crime or domestic violence.
More components will be added to the English language test in order to assess the applicants’ listening, writing and reading skills.
Instead of the current one year wait, migrants who are granted to be permanent residents will have to wait four years before applying for Australian citizenship. Indeed, this shows how the new laws have been tightened for screening new migrants.
Not as if that is enough – an applicant will have to wait another two years to apply for citizenship if they fail the test three times.
Those who plan to apply for citizenship may be subjected to the new rules if the coalition manages to pass the changes through Parliament.
Minor offences such as domestic abuse and social welfare fraud, and others that are not consistent with Australian values would be looked at more deeply through the new test.
The new test will also include questions focusing on religious issues. The questions will be carefully designed in such a way that they show appreciation of Australian values.
Some of the potential questions that are expected to be asked include whether the principle of religious freedom allowed for prohibiting girls from school, abusing a spouse, genital mutilation and children to marry.
The decision to update the Citizenship laws was arrived at due to the current global threat of terrorism. The main reason why the changes were made was to strengthen the commitment to Australian values and support democracy.
“The Australian community needs to put effective measures in place in order to combat the recent terrorist attacks around the globe,” said the Australian Prime Minister.
He added that this was the best time for Australia to reaffirm its increasing commitment to shared values, opportunity and democracy.
Therefore, aspiring citizens must demonstrate their allegiance to the nation’s values and be ready to positively contribute to the Australian community.